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Community Water Fluoridation

Little girl drinking a glass of water

Many research studies have proven the safety and benefits of fluoride. For 70 years, people in the United States have benefited from drinking water with fluoride, leading to better dental health.

Drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities (also called tooth decay) by about 25% in children and adults. By preventing cavities, community water fluoridation has been shown to save money for families and for the US health care system.

Oral health in the United States is much better today than it was many years ago; however, cavities are still one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Community water fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to deliver fluoride to people of all ages, education levels, and income levels who live in a community.

Most water has some fluoride, but usually not enough to prevent cavities. Community water systems can add the right amount of fluoride to the local drinking water to prevent cavities.

Community water fluoridation is recommended by nearly all public health, medical, and dental organizations. It is recommended by the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Public Health Service, and World Health Organization.

Because of its contribution to the large decline in cavities in the United States since the 1960s, CDC named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. For more information, see the October 1999 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Fluoridation of Drinking Water to Prevent Dental Caries.