Fluoridation and Fluorides


How Community Water Fluoridation Works

My Water's Flouride

Community Water Fluoridation

The safety and benefits of fluoride are  well documented . For  70 years, people in the United States have benefited from drinking water with fluoride, leading to better dental health.

Drinking fluoridated water keeps the teeth strong and reduced tooth decay by approximately 25% in children and adults. By preventing tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been shown to save money, both for families and the health care system.

Over the past several decades, there have been major improvements in the nation's oral health. Still, tooth decay remains one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all members of the community, regardless of age, educational attainment, or income level.

Nearly all water contains some fluoride, but usually not enough to help prevent tooth decay or cavities. Community water systems can add the right amount of fluoride to the local drinking water to prevent tooth decay.

Community water fluoridation is recommended by nearly all public health, medical, and dental organizations including the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, US Public Health Service, and World Health Organization. Because of its contribution to the dramatic decline in tooth decay 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  

Community Water Fluoridation for Health Professionals

Community Water Fluoridation - Community

Fluoride Varnish - Families

There are a variety of ways that fluoride can benefit teeth, including through its addition to toothpaste and water.  Fluoride varnish  is another way that children can receive the benefits. A new recommendation  by the American Academy of Pediatrics calls for medical or dental professionals to apply fluoride varnish to children's teeth 2 - 4 times per year, starting at 6 months (once teeth are in the mouth) and continuing through age 5. This is a highly concentrated form of fluoride that is painted onto the surface of teeth, where it dries quickly. As it gradually wears off, it strengthens the enamel - making teeth more resistant to decay.

Young Child Brushing Teeth Tooth decay is a preventable disease, and yet  nearly one in four  preschool-age children have experienced decay. Fluoride varnish treatments can be a powerful tool in our collective effort to significantly reduce the risk of childhood decay.

It's important for parents and caregivers to understand that using fluoride varnish is not a substitute for brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste or making tap water a primary drink for your child. In  most areas  of the U.S. that are served by a public water system, the drinking water is  fortified with fluoride  to help prevent cavities. All of these forms of fluoride are beneficial. When brushing a young child's teeth, parents should follow  guidelines  for the proper amount of toothpaste to use.

Fluoride Varnish - Health Care Providers

Fluoride Supplements

Last Updated: 1/5/2016