Calling for safe access to fluoridated water on World Water Day
Water is an essential element of life: a clean water supply helps to reduce the global burden of disease and improves the health and well-being of populations. This World Water Day, FDI highlights the relationship between safe water and oral health.
What is safe water?
According to UN Water, billions of people live without safe water today. Safe water is accessible, available, and free from contamination.
Safe water supplies help contribute to better oral health outcomes
Access to safe water is an essential element of overall health, including oral health. Adding fluoride to a clean water supply often results in community-wide improvements in oral health.
To fluoridate water, a carefully calculated amount of fluoride is added to a clean water supply to promote optimal oral health. Systems must then be in place to closely monitor the fluoride level. When dosed correctly, fluoride can help strengthen the teeth and reverse early signs of tooth decay.
Water fluoridation is an effective public health measure for the prevention of tooth decay in children and adults; it is particularly impactful in populations with a moderate to high risk of tooth decay. It can contribute to better overall health and reduce disparities in the rates of poor oral health within communities.
However, water fluoridation is often only possible in communities where people have access to safe drinking water. Today, only 370 million people – under 5% of the world’s population – benefit from safe water fluoridation.
The right to health and water go hand in hand. Securing access to safe water is an important step towards ensuring oral health for many millions of people around the globe.