During the 43rd Annual Meeting&Exhibition of the American Association for Dental Research, held in conjunction with the 38th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research,  Stephen H. Abrams of Cliffcrest Dental Office in Toronto chaired a symposium titled "Water Fluoridation: Safety Efficacy and Value in Oral Health Care."

Community water fluoridation (CWF) and other fluoride modalities historically have been and remains the cornerstone for the prevention and control of dental caries. There is extensive evidence on the efficacy and cost‐effectiveness of these interventions as well as assessments of the risks associated with fluoride ingestion.

In 2006, the National Research Council identified severe fluorosis as the only documented health effect of fluoride at 2 – 4 mg/L in drinking water. Concentrations recommended for CWF and current dosage schedules for other modalities ensure safety. Systematic reviews on fluorides have identified gaps in knowledge or the need to replicate some of the previous studies under current widespread use of fluorides.

Yet some controversy remains. What used to be the domain of right-wing John Birch Society members has now been adopted by people on the left who are also suspicious of vaccines, food science and energy.

The symposium covered the linkage between caries rates and water fluoridation, it reviewed the research on the safety and value of water fluoridation and described how community water is fluoridated.

The four presentations were:

  • Effectiveness of Fluorides: Findings of Evidence-Based Reviews, E. Angeles Martinez-Mier, Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indianapolis, USA.

  • The Health Assessment of Fluoride in Drinking Water: Conclusions from the National Research Council and Subsequent Scientific Assessments By EPA, Jayanth Kumar, New York State Department of Health, New York City, USA.

  • Community Water Fluoridation: Translating Evidence into Public Health Practice, Barbara F. Gooch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

  • Gaps in Scientific Knowledge Regarding Water Fluoridation and Other Fluoride Modalities, Gary Slade, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, USA.