Benefits of Community Water Fluoridation

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

Community water fluoridation is the controlled addition of a fluoride compound to a public water supply for the control of tooth decay (dental caries).


Fluoride has been proven to protect teeth from decay. It helps rebuild and strengthen the tooth surface (enamel) by replenishing minerals. It strengthens teeth that are still developing in young children, and helps prevent adult tooth decay as gums recede with age.

The MSDH Bureau of Public Water Supply regulates the fluoridation of community water systems that choose to provide it in order to provide early, long-lasting tooth decay prevention.

Benefits of Community Water Fluoridation

Prevents tooth decay

Fluoride in drinking water is an efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases — tooth decay. An estimated 51 million school hours and 164 million work hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness.

Protects all ages

Studies show that fluoride in community water systems prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults. Schoolchildren living in fluoridated communities have on average 2.25 fewer decayed teeth when compared to similar children not living in fluoridated communities.

Safe and effective

For over 80 years the best available scientific evidence has indicated that community water fluoridation is safe and effective. It has been endorsed by numerous U.S. Surgeons General. More than 100 health organizations recognize the health benefits of water fluoridation for preventing dental decay.

Cost Savings

The average lifetime cost per person to fluoridate a water supply is less than the cost of one dental filling. In most cities, for every $1 invested in water fluoridation $38 is saved in dental treatment costs.

It’s Natural

Fluoride is naturally present in groundwater and the oceans. Fluoride also occurs naturally in foods like vegetables and fish. Water fluoridation is an adjustment of fluoride in tap water to a recommended level for preventing tooth decay when natural levels of fluoride are too low.

The World Health Organization supports fluoridation of water, salt and milk as a way to reduce dental decay.

More Information

Last reviewed on May 4, 2022 request edits
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

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