Water Fluoridation

Fluoride is a natural compound that contains fluorine. It occurs naturally in water, though rarely at the optimal level to protect teeth.

Community Water Fluoridation

General Information more

  • Fluoride added to community drinking water (at a concentration of 0.7 parts per million) has been shown to be a safe, inexpensive, and extremely effective method of preventing tooth decay. more
  • Community water fluoridation has been around for more than 60 years and has helped millions of people fight tooth decay. Because of its safety, effectiveness, and low cost, fluoride was named one of the top 10 great public health interventions by the Centers for Disease Control.more
  • In Rhode Island, approximately 80% of the population on public water receives fluoridated water. Find out if your water supplier provides fluoridated water.

Benefits

  • Community water fluoridation benefits everyone in the community, regardless of age and socioeconomic status. more
  • Community water fluoridation provides protection against tooth decay in populations with limited access to prevention services.
  • For every dollar spent on community water fluoridation, up to $38 is saved in treatment costs for tooth decay. more

Safety

  • Continued research has confirmed the safety of fluoridated water as an effective public health practice. The Rhode Island Department of Health has developed a document on the safety and effectiveness of community water. more
  • Community Water Fluoridation is recognized as a beneficial public health practice by the Centers for Disease Control and American Dental Association along with over 100 national and international organizations. more
  • Anti-fluoride groups often circulate various claims that are false, unproven or misleading. more
  • Other Source of Drinking Water

    Private wells

    Well water may have naturally occurring fluoride and should be tested for fluoride content to determine if fluoride supplements should be prescribed by the child’s physician or dentist. Fluoride testing must be conducted at a state-certified laboratory. more

    Bottled water

    Although most bottled water contains very low levels of fluoride, it is important to note that some brands may contain optimal or higher levels. Water labeled as purified, distilled, deionized, demineralized, or produced through reverse osmosis are always low in fluoride. Because there currently is no requirement to display the fluoride levels on bottle labels, you may want to consult an oral health professional to determine if you or your family need fluoride supplements to prevent tooth decay.