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        Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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What is community water fluoridation?

Community water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the natural fluoride concentration of a community's water supply. It is adjusted to the level that is ideal to prevent dental decay. Some communities have enough natural fluoride in their water. Most communities in Saskatchewan have between 0.1 - 0.2 mg/Litre of naturally occurring fluoride in their water. For a dental benefit, the fluoride level needs to be adjusted to 0.7 mg/Litre.

How much is 0.7 mg/L?
To understand this amount, it can be compared to 3/4 inch in 16 miles, 45 seconds in 2 years, or less than 1 cent in $10,000. 

How does fluoride work to reduce tooth decay?

Fluoride works to reduce tooth decay in two ways:

Before teeth appear: Fluoride is absorbed into the bloodstream. It becomes part of the enamel during the time teeth are developing.

After teeth appear: Fluoride comes in direct contact with the enamel on the outside of the tooth. It creates a tooth surface that is more resistant to decay.

What are the benefits of community water fluoridation?

The most common benefits include:

  • 20-40 percent less dental decay in people of all ages;
  • prevention of pain, infection and tooth loss;
  • lower dental costs for repairing decayed teeth;
  • fewer school and work hours missed due to oral health problems and dental visits; and
  • improved oral health over a lifetime.

Do adults benefit from drinking fluoridated water?

Yes! People of all ages benefit from drinking fluoridated water. Adults and seniors are keeping their teeth longer. Root caries (decay found on the surface of teeth near the gums) is increasing in this age group.

Research shows that people who live all of their lives in areas with sufficient fluoride in their drinking water have 20 to 40 percent less tooth decay.

Why is community water fluoridation an ideal public health method?

Community water fluoridation is safe, cost effective, practical and effective.

The entire community benefits regardless of:

  • age;
  • income;
  • education;
  • employment;
  • individual motivation;
  • availability of dentists; or
  • financial ability to pay for dental services.

Every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costs.


Unlike other ways of preventing dental decay, no individual effort or direct action needs to be taken. All people drink water and eat food prepared with water, therefore everyone using fluoridated water will automatically benefit.

Dental disease is the number one chronic disease among children and adolescents in North America. This makes fluoridation an important public health measure.

According to the Findings and Recommendations of the Fluoride Expert Panel for Health Canada, "Community water fluoridation remains an effective public health method to reduce the prevalence of decay in the Canadian population."
(Health Canada/2007)

Is community water fluoridation safe?

Community water fluoridation has proven to be safe through both practical experience and research. The safety of fluoride has been studied more thoroughly than any other public health measure during the past 60 years.

Over 405 million people world-wide enjoy the benefits of fluoridated drinking water.

Who supports fluoridation?

The use of fluoride in the prevention of tooth decay continues to be endorsed by over 90 national and international professional health organizations including Health Canada, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Medical Association, and the World Health Organization. (March/2008)

What is the current status of community water fluoridation in Saskatchewan?

Less than 37 percent of the population in Saskatchewan currently has access to water with sufficient levels of fluoride.

Is the drinking water in my community fluoridated?

To find out if your water is fluoridated, check with your municipal government or local public health office.

Community water fluoridation is an effective way to prevent dental decay.


  • is an effective way to reduce tooth decay;
  • is safe;
  • benefits people of all ages;
  • reduces the cost of dental treatment;
  • is equitable; and
  • requires no individual action or effort by those who will benefit.

"Community water fluoridation has been identified by the Canadian Public Health Association as one of the twelve great public health milestones in the past 100 years."

For more information,
contact a dental health educator
at your local public health office.

Related Links

Community water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the natural fluoride concentration of a community's water supply. An appropriate amount of fluoride is effective to prevent tooth decay.

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