‘It’s safe and works well’

Community water fluoridation (CWF) is recognised as having public health benefits in reducing dental caries in young children and marginalised communities. Resistance to CWF has been attributed to anti-fluoridation lobbying and limited public knowledge of the benefits. Understanding of how best to promote CWF is lacking.

Using a convenience sample (n = 245) of parents with children aged <18 years, participants responded to a number of differing messages about CWF.

Messaging which focuses on oral health, the safety of CWF and its effect as a buffer against oral health inequalities may be more effective than messaging focused on cost-effectiveness. The beliefs of family and of the family doctor, that CWF is a good thing, were positively associated with CWF support. However, more participants trusted their dentist as a source of information than their doctor.

Kemp D, Mackert M, Bouchacourt L et al. Promoting support for community water fluoridation: Testing message effects and the role of normative beliefs. J Am Dent Assoc 2021; 152: 1012-1019.

*Online at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-022-3844-3

See British Dental Journal News at http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/british-dental-journaljan-14-2022.pdf