Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies
The American Academy of Family Physicians supports fluoridation of public water supplies as a safe, economical, and effective method to prevent dental caries. Family physicians are encouraged to know the fluoride content of local drinking water supplies, educate patients to prevent excessive fluoride intake, and be knowledgeable about the health risks and benefits associated with fluoride. Dietary fluoride supplements are encouraged for children ages six months through 16 years when drinking water levels are suboptimal. (1993) (2013 COD)
An assessment and summary of the scientific evidence on the benefits and harms of community water fluoridation was developed to assist family physicians who may be called upon to offer a professional opinion regarding a local community water fluoridation decisions. [link to the systematic review](17 page PDF)
These policies are provided only as assistance for physicians making clinical decisions regarding the care of their patients. As such, they cannot substitute for the individual judgment brought to each clinical situation by the patient’s family physician. As with all clinical reference resources, they reflect the best understanding of the science of medicine at the time of publication, but they should be used with the clear understanding that continued research may result in new knowledge and recommendations. These policies are only one element in the complex process of improving the health of America. To be effective, the policy must be implemented.