In addition to community water fluoridation, there are multiple public health measures which can improve oral health:
- Healthy low sugar diet
- Proper tooth brushing and flossing
- Regular professional checkups
- Parental education and involvement
- Preventive treatments such as fluoride varnish
All are good for teeth and prevent cavities. But fluoridation opponents mistakenly believe these programs can be alternatives to avoid fluoridation.
The Scottish national oral health program ChildSmile is a combination of public health programs for economically disadvantaged children. The professional society representing dentists in Scotland, the British Dental Association of Scotland, also calls for water fluoridation, believing fluoridation “would complement the ChildSmile programme” by helping to reduce the overall burden of tooth decay and decreasing dental health inequalities in the elderly.
The British Dental Association of Scotland believes that for best dental health communities should also fluoridate. The Royal College of Surgeons dental surgeons in England advocate for both more fluoridation as well as services similar to Childsmile in Scotland. Experts know that ChildSmile is not a cost-effective nor adequate substitute for water fluoridation.
The annual cost of ChildSmile in Scotland is $186 US per child per year. The average cost per person of CWF per child if Scotland was fluoridating their water system would be approximately 59 cents US per person per year.
Child Smile benefits only high risk children and is over 300 times more expensive. In comparison, fluoridation is much more affordable and benefits all citizens.