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Water Fluoridation




Fluoridation helps everyone.
Fluoride naturally occurs in almost all water supplies. When a person drinks water containing the right amount, they get fewer cavities.Fluoride strengthens the tooth's outer enamel layer, making it able to resist mouth acids produced by bacteria. Fluoride benefits both the teeth that are developing under the gums, as well as teeth that are already present in the mouth. So fluoride is important for both children and adults.


Fluoridation isn’t new.
Since 1945—when research showed that fluoride could reduce tooth decay by as much as two-thirds—American cities have been adjusting the natural fluoride level in the water to improve dental health. Today, 43 of the 50 largest U.S. cities are fluoridated. Our state leaders recognized the benefits of fluoride back in 1969, when Ohio passed a fluoridation law requiring community water systems that serve over 5000 persons to fluoridate. In Ohio, 92 percent of Ohioans who are served by community water systems are enjoying the benefits of fluoridated water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.


A little bit of fluoride goes a long way.
Fluoride is one of many compounds that are added to our water to make it safe and healthy. In Ohio, water systems adjust the fluoride level to about 1 part fluoride per million parts water (ppm). That amount of fluoride is like:

One inch in 16 miles   *   *   *   *  1 minute in 2 years   *   *   *   *  1 cent in $10,000                 

This small amount of fluoride doesn’t affect the taste or odor of the water. Leading health organizations agree that fluoridated water is both safe and effective. Find answers to frequently asked questions on the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) Web site.


New fluoride recommendation.
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed that the level of fluoride in public water systems could be reduced from 1.0 ppm to 0.7 ppm of water. This new recommendation was made because Americans are getting fluoride from more sources than they were when the original level was set. Ohio will soon be changing its fluoridation law so it conforms to the new recommendation. For more information visit the ADA Web site.


A small investment in fluoridation pays big dividends.
The cost per person per year for water fluoridation ranges from about 40 cents to about $2.70, depending on the size of the water system and the type of fluoride used. That is a great savings, since the cost of a simple filling is usually more than $75.


Fluoridation is an example of public health at its best.
Why? Because many in a community benefit when the drinking water has enough fluoride in it. The protection against tooth decay lasts a lifetime and happens with every sip of water. Drinking fluoridated water can make a big difference for folks who cannot afford to go to the dentist or buy fluoride products (mouthrinses, toothpaste) at the store. More than four million Ohioans don’t have dental insurance, and 1.4 million report that they have dental needs that have not been met.  Preventing tooth decay through community water fluoridation is powerful public health! Now more than ever, fluoridation is important to all Ohioans.


Community Water Fluoridation, Oral Health Section, Ohio Department of Health

Ohio Department of Health Policy on Community Water Fluoridation