The American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) is concerned with the one-sided view of community water fluoridation that was presented on the February 1, 2016 airing of the Dr. Oz Show, which failed to provide a balanced discussion of the benefits of community water fluoridation. The Dr. Oz Show was an attempt to avert the science and allowed the guest, Ms. Erin Brockovich, to vilify water fluoridation without credible evidence to support her claim. While she espoused the dangers of community water fluoridation, the science speaks otherwise and the science was not presented on this show.
The American Association of Public Health Dentistry is the leading national organization that promotes oral health through evidence-based public health policies and practices. AAPHD, formed in 1937, addresses challenges to improve the oral health and overall health for all through the support of effective programs of oral health and disease prevention.
The American Association of Public Health Dentistry strongly supports community water fluoridation based upon over 70 years of scientific evidence describing the effectiveness of this practice to reduce of tooth decay and provide this preventive benefit without regard to income. People living across the US have benefited from community water fluoridation, and no credible studies have shown that there is a health risk from consuming water with optimal levels of fluoride.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged community water fluoridation as one of the ten most significant public health achievements of the 20th century1 . Studies have demonstrated that community water fluoridation is a safe and effective practice to reduce tooth decay and promote overall health. Over 120 organizations in the US and globally support the practice of community water fluoridation. Since the advent of community water fluoridation, we have seen a reduction in the rate of tooth decay in the US that is also reflected in the reduction in the number of adults who have lost all of their teeth. Community water fluoridation provides up to an additional 25% reduction in tooth decay after fluoride products (e.g. toothpaste) were widely available.
The public is not well-served by the failure of a television show to provide evidence-based reporting. We urge the Dr. Oz show to air a retraction, and to provide a balanced report of the compressive state of scientific evidence surrounding the benefits of community water fluoridation.
David Cappelli, DMD, MPH, PhD