1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What Is Water Fluoridation?

By

Updated October 27, 2010

What Is Water Fluoridation?
Photo: Thomas Northcut / Getty Images
Question: What Is Water Fluoridation?
Communities across the United States have been adding fluoride to the community water supply for over 40 years, but what exactly is water fluoridation? I have broken down the basics of water fluoridation for you, to beer understand how and why fluoride is added to public drinking water.
Answer:

Water fluoridation is the process in which fluoride is added to public drinking water to reach an optimum level in order to prevent tooth decay. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a level of fluoride no greater than 4 mg/L or 4 ppm in the water. According to the American Dental Association, 1.0 ppm is the optimum level of fluoride necessary to prevent tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states "The most inexpensive way to deliver the benefits of fluoride to all residents of a community is through water fluoridation."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report community water fluoridation statistics every two years. According to their report, in 2008, 195,545,109 of the 269,911,707 people on public drinking water systems in the United States were receiving fluoridated water. That number represents 72.4% of the population in the United States receiving fluoridated water via fluoridated water systems. 64.3% of the population are receiving fluoridated water in other means.

Sources:

American Dental Association. Statement on Water Fluoridation Efficacy and Safety. http://www.ada.org/2109.aspx. Accessed October 27, 2010.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Community Water Fluoridation - Background Information. http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/benefits/background.htm. Accessed October 27, 2010.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2008 Water Fluoridation Statistics. http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/statistics/2008stats.htm. Accessed October 27, 2010.

Environmental Protection Agency. Basic Information About Fluoride in Drinking Water. http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/fluoride.cfm. Accessed October 27, 2010.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Dental Care
  4. Basic Dental Care
  5. Water Fluoridation - What Is Water Fluoridation

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.