Community-Based Strategies to Prevent Tooth Decay Save Money
- Depending on the size of the community, every dollar spent for community water fluoridation saves from $8 to $49 in treatment costs. Savings are greatest in large communities.
- Fluoridated water saves more than $4.6 billion annually in dental costs in the United States.
- School-based dental sealant programs are cost saving when delivered to populations at high risk for tooth decay, such as children in low-income households.
Community and school partnerships raise awareness about the value of school sealant programs. Healthy Smiles for Wisconsin, a CDC-supported statewide effort to improve the oral health of Wisconsin children through school and community partnerships, began in October 2000. This program helped to establish new community-based sealant programs, and in 2007–2008, these programs provided sealants to 9,202 children in 19 counties.
Community coalitions are essential for gaining approval for community water fluoridation. During the past decade, broad-based citizen coalitions in several large U.S. cities have educated residents about the benefits of water fluoridation. Water fluoridation was approved in many of these jurisdictions, including Los Angeles and Sacramento, CA; Manchester, NH; Las Vegas, NV; San Antonio, TX; and Salt Lake City, UT.