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 Drinking Water

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Rhode Island, 85% of the population on public water receives fluoridated water.


  • Community water fluoridation benefits everyone in the community, regardless of age and socioeconomic status.
  • 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

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.