Fluoride Myths & Facts

Fact #5: Fluoridated water is the best way to protect everyone’s teeth from decay.

  • Fluoridated water + toothpaste = less tooth decay! The benefits of water fluoridation build on those from fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste alone is not enough, which is why pediatricians and dentists often prescribe fluoride tablets to children living in non-fluoridated areas.
  • After looking at all the ways we get fluoride — including fluoride toothpaste — the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that communities fluoridate water at 0.7 parts per million. Any less than that puts the health of our teeth at risk.

Fact #6: Very high fluoride concentrations can lead to a condition called fluorosis. Nearly all fluorosis in the U.S. is mild. This condition does not cause pain and does not affect the health or function of the teeth.

  • Nearly all cases of fluorosis — faint, white specks on teeth — are mild. Mild fluorosis does not cause pain, and it does not affect the health or function of the teeth.
  • In 2015, the CDC proposed a new level for fluoridation — 0.7 parts per million — that is expected to reduce the likelihood of fluorosis while continuing to protect teeth from decay.

Fact #7: Getting enough fluoride in childhood is critical to strengthening our teeth over an entire lifetime.

  • Babies and children need fluoride to strengthen their growing teeth. The use of fluoride to prevent and control cavities is documented to be both safe and effective.
  • Children who drink fluoridated water as their teeth grow will have stronger teeth that resist decay better over their lifetime. A 2010 study confirmed that the fluoridated water consumed as a young child makes the loss of teeth due to decay less likely 40 or 50 years later.