Tooth decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.
Maintaining proper oral health will prevent and control oral diseases. Tooth decay is preventable. Fluoride varnish, a high concentration fluoride coating that is painted on teeth can prevent about one-third (33%) of decay in the primary (baby) teeth.
Community water fluoridation is widely accepted by the scientific community to be the safest, most cost effective, and most equitable method to prevent tooth decay in children and adults. The Washington State Board of Health recommends an optimal level for fluoride in drinking water of 0.7 mg/L; at these levels there is no evidence of negative health outcomes or toxicity. Spokane is the largest city in the State of Washington without fluoridated drinking water. This brief summarizes recent scientific literature, provides local contextual details, and offers a characterization of predicted health impacts of water fluoridation.
Read the full Community Water Fluoridation Policy Brief.
To ensure good oral health for your child:
About 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. (CDC)