Water fluoridation and oral health


  • Máiréad Antoinette Harding Oral Health Services Research Centre Cork University Dental School and Hospital, Wilton, Cork
  • Denis Martin O’Mullane HSE-South, Dental Clinic, Health Centre Innishmore, Ballincollig, Co Cork




Water fluoridation, Effectiveness, Dental caries, Fluorosis


Water fluoridation, is the controlled addition of fluoride to the water supply, with the aim of reducing the prevalence of dental caries. Current estimates suggest that approximately 370 million people in 27 countries consume fluoridated water, with an additional 50 million consuming water in which fluoride is naturally occurring. A pre-eruptive effect of fluoride exists in reducing caries levels in pit and fissure surfaces of permanent teeth and fluoride concentrated in plaque and saliva inhibits the demineralisation of sound enamel and enhances the remineralisation of demineralised enamel. A large number of studies conducted worldwide demonstrate the effectiveness of water fluoridation. Objections to water fluoridation have been raised since its inception and centre mainly on safety and autonomy. Systematic reviews of the safety and efficacy of water fluoridation attest to its safety and efficacy; dental fluorosis identified as the only adverse outcome. Conclusion: Water fluoridation is an effective safe means of preventing dental caries, reaching all populations, irrespective of the presence of other dental services. Regular monitoring of dental caries and fluorosis is essential particularly with the lifelong challenge which dental caries presents.


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How to Cite

Harding, M. A., & O’Mullane, D. M. (2013). Water fluoridation and oral health. Acta Medica Academica, 42(2), 131. https://doi.org/10.5644/ama2006-124.81