Prevention For All : Water Fluoridation

The people of Johor Bahru have been receiving fluoridated water as early as 1957. This was followed by water fluoridation in Penang in 1959 and Simanggang in Sarawak in 1961. The Johore state government eventually extended coverage to other areas of the state in 1966. In those days, caries levels were high. In 1963, it was cited that the DMF rate among National Servicemen of average age 21.4 years was 10.181. With a wide disparity between treatment needs and care provided, a Committee on Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies was appointed and mandated by the Minister of Health in 1969 to 'study and report upon the feasibility of introducing fluoridation of public water supplies as a public health measure in all states of West Malaysia'. The recommendations for fluoridation of water were based on extensive review of scientific literature covering equity of caries-protective effects, safety, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of water fluoridation. The Cabinet Committee accepted the recommendations in 1972. It is estimated about 75.7% of the population enjoyed the benefits of a fluoridated public water supply in the year 2017.

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