Fluoridation Facts

Message Summary: Community water fluoridation and the use of fluoride-containing products are safe, effective and necessary for preventing tooth decay.*

Key Facts:

  • Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter. Small amounts of fluoride occur naturally in all water sources.
  • Documented scientific studies, for more than 60 years, have proven that fluoride, when administered at an optimal dosage, can reduce the incidence of dental cavities in children. The United States Public Health Service has established that the “optimal” fluoridation range is between 0.7 ppm (parts per million) and 1.2 ppm.
  • The amount of fluoride in water is infinitesimally small. 1 ppm = one part of fluoride diluted in a million parts of water. 1 ppm can be represented as 1 inch in 16 miles; 1 minute in 2 years; or 1 cent in $10,000.
  • Community water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the natural level of fluoride to the level recommended to protect against tooth decay. Fluoride at the concentration found in optimally fluoridated water is not toxic or harmful.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named community water fluoridation one of 10 great health achievements of the 20th Century.
  • Water fluoridation is available in approximately 60 countries benefiting over 405 MILLION people.
  • Water fluoridation is safe and the most cost-effective way to prevent tooth decay in people of all ages and all socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • The average cost for a community to fluoridate its water is $.50 per person per year for large communities (more than 20,000 residents) and $3 per person per year for small communities (less than 5,000 residents).
  • The possibility of any adverse health effects from continuous low-level consumption of fluoride has been and continues to be extensively studied. None of the credible scientific studies on fluoridation have shown health problems associated with the consumption of optimally fluoridated water.
  • Fluoride intake above optimal amounts can create a risk for enamel fluorosis in teeth during their development. Enamel fluorosis is not a disease but rather affects the way teeth look. Most cases of fluorosis result in faint white lines or streaks on tooth enamel, which are not readily apparent to the affected individual or the casual observer. Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic effect, and is not considered to be harmful. The vast majority of fluorosis can be prevented through the appropriate use of fluoride-containing products.
  • In non-fluoridated areas, children can be prescribed dietary fluoride supplements by a physician or dentist.
  • Fluoridation is the adjustment of a naturally occurring element found in water in order to prevent dental decay. Courts have consistently ruled that water fluoridation is not a form of compulsory mass medication or socialized medicine. Fluoridation is simply the adjustment of a naturally occurring element found in water in order to prevent dental decay. In fact, water that has been fortified with fluoride is similar to fortifying salt with iodine, milk with Vitamin D and orange juice with Vitamin C – none of which are considered to be medications.

More Information:
CDC Community Water Fluoridation
American Dental Association

*Information provided by: Colorado Dental Association

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