Water Fluoridation

We offer educational materials and guidance on water fluoridation to promote safe drinking water as an effective and efficient way to prevent tooth decay.

Water Fluoridation Outcomes 

  • More than 70 years of practical experience has demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of fluoridation. Community water fluoridation (CWF) is the foundation of a community approach to reducing the burden of tooth decay for all members of the community — regardless of socioeconomic status. 
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proclaimed fluoridation one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. 
  • Since 1995, California law mandates CWF for water districts with more than 10,000 service connections, where outside funding is available. 
  • Courts have consistently affirmed a community’s right to fluoridate its public water supply for the benefit of its citizens. 
  • Almost 75% of the U.S. population served by public water supplies receives fluoridated water in their homes. 
  • Each community or water district decides by vote of its leaders or registered voters whether to fluoridate the public water supplies. 
  • In California, in the past 25 years, there has been an increase from 16% to 60% of the population served by public water supplies; which benefits more than 22 million people (more than any other state in the United States). 
  • County oral health programs play a leadership role in informing the local community about the benefits, safety and cost-effectiveness of fluoridating the water. 
  • Strategic plans to improve the oral health of a community, through the initiation or maintenance of fluoridation, should include an assessment of the naturally occurring level of fluoride in the public drinking water; an assessment of the local community burden of tooth decay; technical feasibility of implementation; calculation of costs of initiation and maintenance and source of funds; legal requirements; identification of the community or water districts leadership; organization of a steering committee; development of endorsements; and a communications strategy.

Water Fluoridation Resources and Publications