Fluoride Myths & Facts

Boy Drinking Water with FluorideFact #1: Fluoride occurs naturally in water, though usually not at a high enough level to protect teeth.

  • Fluoride exists naturally in virtually all water supplies.
  • There are proven benefits to our health from having the right amount of fluoride — just enough to protect our teeth — in the water.
  • In 2011, federal health officials recommended a new level of fluoride for water: 0.7 parts per million.

Fact #2: Fluoride has been recognized as an important nutrient for healthy teeth.

  • Fluoride is a mineral and in the right amount, fluoride in drinking water strengthens teeth. Fluoride is not a medication.
  • Fluoride is one of several examples of everyday products fortified to improve our health — iodine is added to salt, folic acid is added to breads and cereals, and Vitamin D is added to milk.
  • U.S. court decisions have rejected the argument that fluoride is a medication.

Fact #3: Fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to prevent tooth decay and build healthy communities.

  • Evidence shows that for most cities, every $1 invested in fluoridation saves $38 in costs to treat dental problems.
  • In Texas, the state saved $24 per child, per year in Medicaid expenditures because of the cavities that were prevented by drinking fluoridated water.
  • Water fluoridation saved the state of Colorado nearly $149 million by avoiding unnecessary dental treatment.

Fact #4: Fluoridation is a public health measure, a modest community-wide investment that benefits everyone.

  • Fluoride exists naturally in virtually all water supplies, so it isn’t a question of choosing, but a question of assuring that people receive the right amount to prevent tooth decay.
  • Public health decisions are made based on what benefits the entire community and on sound scientific evidence.
  • Our tax dollars help pay to fix dental problems that result from tooth decay. For example, in New York, Medicaid enrollees in counties where fluoridation was rare needed 33.4% more fillings, root canals, and extractions than those in counties where there was fluoridated water.