Salt fluoridation programs over the last decade have placed the countries of the Americas at the leading edge in reducing dental caries, and these programs are now being replicated in other regions, the book notes. Fluoridation benefits also translate into savings in dental treatments of up to $250 per person for every $1 spent on fluoridation initiatives.
\"Dental caries is the most common childhood disease and can be avoided thanks to salt fluoridation,\" said PAHO\'s Dr. Saskia Estupi?an-Day, regional advisor on oral health and author of the publication. \"We are the world leaders on salt fluoridation programs. The Latin American and Caribbean experience is being replicated worldwide. Many countries are seeking our assistance and technical cooperation to implement this greatly beneficial and cost-effective public health strategy.\"
Studies on dental caries in 12-year old children have shown that the average regional rate of caries in the Americas dropped from 5.05 in 1987 to just 2.41 in 2004, thanks to salt fluoridation programs. The most notable reduction took place in Jamaica, a country that has achieved an 84 percent reduction in childhood dental caries in 1995 thanks to a nationwide salt fluoridation program started in 1987.
Jamaica\'s program was highlighted by the Center for Global Development\'s Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health as one of the 17 most relevant public health initiatives taken worldwide in recent years. Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Uruguay and other countries have also achieved remarkable reductions of dental caries in their respective populations? Continues ?? Pan American Health Org
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