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Oral Health

Fluoridation: Nature’s Way to Prevent Tooth Decay

Fluoride is a natural element found in rocks and soil and both fresh and ocean waters.  In some areas fluoride occurs naturally in the water supply, but in most areas fluoride needs to be added and regulated to ensure a level that is most beneficial.  For more information on your water supply, visit  My Water's Fluoride. This site provides information on whether or not you receive fluoridated water,  and is maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Information is available for each zip code and municipal water system.

Community leaders have come to realize that fluoridation benefits their entire community—children, adults, and senior citizens. Community water fluoridation does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of income, education, or race. Simply by drinking fluoridated water, everyone in a community benefits.  Even today, with other available sources of fluoride, studies show that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25 percent over a person’s lifetime.

A person’s income and ability to get routine dental care are not barriers since all residents of a community can enjoy fluoride’s protective benefits just by drinking tap water and consuming foods and beverages prepared with it.

Approximately 170 million people in the United States — about two-thirds of people who use public water systems — benefit from fluoridation.

    • Fluoridation is safe.
    • Fluoridation of community water supplies benefits everyone.
    • Fluoridation is cost-effective because it saves money on dental treatment needs.*

*Text adapted from "Nature's Way to Prevent Tooth Decay" pamphlet (American Dental Association) and the CDC Community Water Fluoridation site, www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/benefits/background.htm

Learn More About Water Fluoridation

Information for Community Water Operators

Another Source of Fluoride: Fluoride Varnish

  • Fluoride Varnish for Parents (pdf)
    Why should your child get fluoride varnish on his teeth? This dual language flyer explains the importance of fluoride varnishes to preventing tooth decay.
  • Fluoride Varnish Manual (pdf)
    A manual for health providers on how to correctly apply fluoride varnishes for maximum efficacy.
  • Fluoride Varnish Training (ppt)
    This powerpoint was created by Division of Oral Health staff as part of the More Smiling Faces project in 2005. It gives a brief overview of what fluoride varnishes are, why they’re important, and how to apply them.