Course Description

The American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are among the many dental, medical and public health organizations that recommend community water fluoridation. This course will provide an overview of the water fluoridation process and explain the science behind all the cited fluoridation research. When a community stops fluoridating its water, it undermines the oral health of children and adults. In recent years, several Pennsylvania communities have stopped. Dental and medical professionals can play a crucial role in advising their community and local officials to make an informed decision. Being an effective advocate for community water fluoridation requires two skill sets. First, effective advocacy requires an understanding of the common arguments that opponents use and why those assertions are false or misleading. Second, effective advocacy means making use of several communication techniques to enhance the impact of your messages. This intensive training session by the American Fluoridation Society addresses both needs.

At the conclusion of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Be able to summarize the scientific discovery of fluoride’s role in reducing the risk of tooth decay
  • Know the primary arguments that opponents make against community water fluoridation and why the evidence does not support these arguments
  • Be prepared to use five communication tools to educate your community in a clear, concise, and compelling manner
  • Understand the work that the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Coalition for Oral Health are doing to promote community water fluoridation
  • Apply lessons from the training to determine which community water systems fluoridate
  • Locate resources to assist with water fluoridation advocacy efforts


Matt Jacob is a public health consultant who advises dental and medical professionals, and nonprofit leaders on communicating with non-scientific audiences.  He is widely considered an expert on messaging around the issue of fluoride.  Matt has provided training in 20 states to strengthen advocacy for community water fluoridation.  He formerly managed communications for the Children’s Dental Campaign, a project which was launched by the Pew Center on the States.  Matt has given testimony or presentations to a variety of key stakeholders, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association and the National Academy of Medicine’s Roundtable on Health Literacy.  He has authored several articles about oral health communication or policy that have been published in peer-reviewed journals.  Matt lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Johnny Johnson, DMD, MS, is a pediatric dentist from Pinellas County, Florida. He is also the co-founder and President of the American Fluoridation Society.  Dr. Johnson has delivered presentations, training and testimony about fluoride in numerous states, as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom. Dr. Johnson’s leadership role in fluoridation advocacy began after his county commission voted to end fluoridation — a decision that was successfully reversed by a coalition of residents that Dr. Johnson helped to organize. Dr. Johnson was a key source of information for the reporters and editors who helped the Tampa Bay Times win a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the fluoridation issue. He received his dental training from the University of Florida, and he earned his Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry and Masters of Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Office of Continuing Dental Education
Penn Dental Medicine