The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) commended 56 Alabama public water systems for their consistent and professional adjustment of fluoride content to the recommended level for oral health. Awards were presented October 23 at the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Surface Water Conference.

Fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride in the water to a level that is optimal for preventing tooth decay. The award recognizes those communities that maintained a consistent level of optimally fluoridated water for 12 consecutive months throughout 2018. For 2018, a total of 1,656 public water systems in 30 states received these awards.

“Water fluoridation is one of the best investments that a community can make in maintaining the oral health of its citizens,” Dr. Tommy Johnson, state dental director, Alabama Department of Public Health, said. “Many people do not realize it is equally as effective in preventing cavities in children and adults.”

Studies have shown that for every $1 invested in fluoridation, approximately $20 are saved in costs for dental treatment. More than 210 million people, or 75 percent of the United States population served by public water supplies, currently drink water with optimal fluoride levels for preventing decay.

Two water systems in Alabama, Florence Utilities Water Department and Jasper Waterworks and Sewer Board, received 50-Year Awards for fluoridation from 1968-2018. Community water fluoridation has been recognized by the CDC as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th Century. The CDC recommends water fluoridation as one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable and safe measures a community can take to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health.

For more information contact Summer Macias, state fluoridation program coordinator, at (334) 206-2978 or visit for a list of the systems which received water fluoridation quality awards for 2018.

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