Perceived safety and benefit of community water fluoridation: 2009 HealthStyles survey
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Perceived safety and benefit of community water fluoridation: 2009 HealthStyles survey
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Public Health Dent
  • Description:
    Objectives To describe perceived benefits and safety of community water fluoridation (CWF) and investigate factors associated with those perceptions of CWF among respondents to a proprietary survey in the United States. Methods We obtained data from the 2009 HealthStyles survey, a convenience sample of 4,556 respondents. Pearson's chi-squared and logistic regression were used to determine the associations between certain socio-demographic factors and perceptions regarding the safety and health benefits of CWF. Results The majority of respondents (55.3 percent) strongly agreed/agreed that CWF was safe, while 31.5 percent were neutral, and 13.2 percent disagreed/strongly disagreed. Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported CWF had no health benefit, 57.3 percent reported some benefit, and 15.5 percent reported great benefit. Perceived CWF safety and benefit in the bivariate analyses were associated with gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, marital status, income, sealant knowledge, CWF knowledge, past year dental utilization, and perceived vaccine safety. Respondents with knowledge of CWF (47.9 percent) were more likely to agree that it was safe (69.8 percent) than those who reported no knowledge (41.3 percent). Among respondents who said childhood vaccines were not safe (4.0 percent), almost half disagreed that CWF was safe. Logistic regression results indicated that perceived CWF safety and benefits increased with CWF knowledge, perceived vaccine safety, and income. Conclusions Although only a minority of the US population perceived CWF as unsafe or providing no benefit to health, perceptions regarding CWF varied by knowledge of CWF and socio-demographic factors. Oral health promotion activities should consider these differing perceptions of CWF among groups to tailor oral health messaging appropriately.
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