Is fluoride safe?

YES! Community water fluoridation (CWF) is safe, effective and necessary to protect teeth at all ages. That’s the conclusion of every major health organization in the United States. Evidence from years of experience demonstrates that communities with fluoridated water have less tooth decay. Here are interesting facts that will disprove a few myths you may have heard.

1. Fluoride is good for teeth, and to have good health, you need healthy teeth.

Fluoride is a mineral known to be safe and effective at preventing tooth decay. There is no scientifically valid evidence to show that fluoride causes cancer, kidney disease, or other disorders.

The Facts:
  • A U.S. Public Health Service review of data and research concluded that “Expert panels which reviewed this international body of literature agree that there is no credible evidence of an association between either natural fluoride or adjusted fluoride in drinking water and human cancer.”
  • Drinking fluoridated water has not been shown to cause or worsen conditions of the thyroid, kidney, heart, or other glands/organs. The only proven risk associated with excess fluoride is a cosmetic condition known as dental fluorosis.
  • For more information, see Common Questions about Fluoride.

fluoride is safe2. The fluoride in water does not typically cause fluorosis.

Dental fluorosis is a minor change in the appearance of the teeth, usually resulting in faint white marks on the enamel. People anywhere can have fluorosis, even in communities that do not add fluoride to the water.

The Facts:
  • Fluorosis occurs when young children get too much fluoride, over an extended period of time, while their teeth are still growing under the gums. Toothpaste contains a higher concentration of fluoride than water. This is why parents of children under the age of 6 are advised to supervise tooth-brushing and use the right amount of toothpaste.
  • In 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended a reduced amount of fluoride in water. This is good news. As we get fluoride from a variety of sources, we can add less to our water.
  • For more information, see Fluorosis Facts.

3. Fluoridated water is safe for babies and children.

Fluoride is an important mineral for everyone, especially children. We all have bacteria in our mouths. Bacteria produce acid that harms teeth. Fluoride protects teeth and helps reverse early signs of decay.

The Facts:
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), along with the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agree that water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay in children.
  • According to the ADA, it is safe to use fluoridated water to mix infant formula. The risk of mixing infant formula with fluoridated water is mild fluorosis (see above). If you have concerns about this, talk with your pediatrician or dentist.
  • For more information, see Fluoride and Children.