Community Water Fluoridation
For 70 years, people in the United States have benefitted from drinking water with fluoride, leading to better dental health.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally on earth and is released from rocks into the soil, water, and air. Nearly all water on earth contains some fluoride, but usually not enough to help prevent tooth decay or cavities. Drinking water with the right amount of fluoride keeps the tooth surface strong and solid and prevents about 25 percent of cavities during a person’s lifetime. Community water systems can add the right amount of fluoride to that community’s drinking water to prevent tooth decay.
Although there have been large decreases in tooth decay since the 1960s, it remains one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Tooth decay or cavities still affect one in every two children from low-income families and more than half of all adolescents. Untreated decay can cause pain, school absences, difficulty concentrating, and poor appearance. These conditions can decrease quality of life and ability to succeed. Because of this, population-level measures such as water fluoridation are still needed.
Water fluoridation is safe and effective and has undergone extensive research and reviews by panels of experts from difference health and scientific fields to be sure it is safe and effective. Community water fluoridation is recommended by nearly all public health, medical, and dental organizations including the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Public Health Service, and World Health Organization. Because of the dramatic decline in cavities in the United States since the 1960s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Overview of Fluoridation Basics
Beginnings, Benefits, Fluoridation Today
Benefits of Community Water Fluoridation
Reports, Journal Articles
Community Water Fluoridation Topics
The proper amount of fluoride from infancy through old age helps prevent and control tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a widely accepted practice for preventing and controlling tooth decay by adjusting the concentration of fluoride in the public water supply.
Data & Statistics
Reviews of scientific literature are an important resource to judge the safety of community water fluoridation.
Engineering & Operations
Nearly all naturally occurring water sources contain fluoride—a mineral that has been proven to prevent, and even reverse, tooth decay.
Guidelines & Policy
Fluoridation Policy Tool
This Fluoride Legislative User Information Database aids policy makers and public health law practitioners researching and comparing their current or proposed policies with others across the country to make informed decisions based on legal information.
- Page last reviewed: April 7, 2015
- Page last updated: April 7, 2015
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