Economic evaluations in water-fluoridation: a scoping review
AuthorMarino, R; Zaror, C
Source TitleBMC Oral Health
University of Melbourne Author/sMarino, Rodrigo
AffiliationMelbourne Dental School
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMarino, R. & Zaror, C. (2020). Economic evaluations in water-fluoridation: a scoping review. BMC ORAL HEALTH, 20 (1), https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-020-01100-y.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: Community water fluoridation (CWF) is considered one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the twentieth century and has been a cornerstone strategies for the prevention and control of dental caries in many countries. However, for decision-makers the effectiveness and safety of any given intervention is not always sufficient to decide on the best option. Economic evaluations (EE) provide key information that managers weigh, alongside other evidence. This study reviews the relevant literature on EE in CWF. METHODS: A systematic database search up to August 2019 was carried out using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, LILACS, Paediatric Economic Database Evaluation and National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database. The review included full economic evaluations on CWF programs, written in English, Spanish or Portuguese. The selection process and data extraction were carried out by two researchers independently. A qualitative synthesis of the results was performed. RESULTS: Of 498 identified articles, 24 studies met the inclusion criteria; 11 corresponded to cost-benefit analysis; nine were cost-effectiveness analyses; and four cost-utility studies. Two cost-utility studies used Disability-Adjusted Life Years,, one used Quality-Adjusted Tooth Years, and another Quality-Adjusted Life Years. EEs were conducted in eight countries. All studies concluded that water fluoridation was a cost-effective strategy when it was compared with non-fluoridated communities, independently of the perspective, time horizon or discount rate applied. Four studies adopted a lifetime time horizon. The outcome measures included caries averted (n = 14) and savings cost of dental treatment (n = 4). Most of the studies reported a caries reduction effects between 25 and 40%. CONCLUSION: Findings indicated that CWF represents an appropriate use of communities' resources, using a range of economic evaluation methods and in different locations. These findings provide evidence to decision-makers which they could use as an aid to deciding on resource allocation.
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