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Water Fluoridation

Community Water Fluoridation

Community water fluoridation is a proven, safe and low-cost way to protect children, adults and older adults from cavities. No matter if a person has insurance, access to a dentist or ability to pay, fluoride in water protects a person's oral health for their entire life. It is seen as one of the top ten greatest public health achievements of our time.


What is Water Fluoridation?

Fluoride can be found in all water sources, but there is an amount that is best for protecting teeth from cavities. Fluoride can be added or removed from a public water system to reach the level that helps make teeth stronger so that cavities do not happen.


Safety and Effectiveness of Community Water Fluoridation

Community water fluoridation is an evidence-based practice recommended by the Community Preventative Services Task Force, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD), and Healthy People 2020 based on strong evidence of effectiveness in reducing dental cavities and disease across the entire population, regardless of age, race or ethnicity, insurance, access to a dentist, or the ability to pay for care. 

The Community Preventive Services Task Force found that after communities fluoridate their water supplies, the percentage of children in the population with at least one cavity decreases by about 15%, on average to before water fluoridation. 

Further scientific evidence:

[Current State Epidemiologist statement in support of CWF]


Water Fluoridation and Health Equity

Community water fluoridation is a powerful weapon in the fight for social justice and health equity. It is reduces cavities for the entire population despite of insurance coverage, access to a dentist or ability to pay for care. It is also an effective way to protect teeth that doesn't require an individual to take action. Just by fluoridating water, all members of a community benefit from protection against cavities, even populations hardest hit by health disparities. 

Water Fluoridation in Oregon

Even though strong proof exists that water fluoridation is safe and improves oral health, Oregon has the third lowest amount of fluoridation in community water systems nationwide ranking 48th among U.S. States.

Over half of the U.S. population lives in communities that provide fluoridated water. However, in Oregon, only about 21.9% of the population receives the benefit of fluoridated water. The Healthy People 2020 goal is 79.6%.


How do I Know if Fluoride is in My Drinking Water?

To find out if there is fluoride in your drinking water:


Other Sources of Fluoridation

If your community does not participate in water fluoridation, other types of fluoride are available that are safe for children, adults and older adults:
  • Drinking water from bottled water with fluoride
  • Fluoride tablets or drops
  • Fluoride mouth rinse
  • Fluoride foams or gels
  • Fluoride varnish
  • Fluoride toothpaste

To learn more about other sources of fluoride, please download the brochure "Keep Your Child's Smile Healthy with Fluoride."


For More Information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - www.cdc.gov/fluoridation
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Campaign for Dental Health - www.ilikemyteeth.org/fluoridation
American Dental Association (ADA)
American Dental Association's Fluoridation Facts
American Dental Association's Fluoridation Videos
National Cancer Institute's Fluoridated Water 
Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) Best Practice Approach Report - Community Water Fluoridation

Information for Water Operators

The Drinking Water Program administers and enforces drinking water quality standards for public water systems in the State of Oregon. Find out more.

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