The ADA supports water fluoridation as a safe, effective method for preventing dental cavities.

There are more than 90 national and international professional health organizations that support the safe and effective use of fluoride for preventing dental cavities. They include the ADA, Alberta Health Services, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Medical Association, Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.

Dental decay is the most common chronic disease in children, affecting five to eight times as many children as asthma. According to recent data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey, 56.8% of children in Canada aged six to 11 are affected by dental cavities and 58.8% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have experienced decay in one or more permanent teeth. By adulthood, nearly 96% of dentate Canadians have experienced coronal decay, with a mean count of 10.7 DMFT (decayed, missing, and filled teeth).

Scientific support

The safety and efficacy of water fluoridation has been frequently studied and continues to be supported by current science. Over 60 years of research and recent systematic reviews have shown that water fluoridation is a safe, effective, and efficient public health measure for preventing dental decay. In fact, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recognized water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

“When combined with healthy food and good oral health habits, fluoride is safe and effective whether it occurs naturally or is added to the optimal level in water. In this way fluoridation uniquely allows us to prevent disease and suffering and promote the wellness of all Albertans, equitably. It is pretty simple: adults and children from areas with water fluoridate have fewer cavities than people in communities where the water fluoride level is too low,” states Dr. James Talbot, former Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta.

Health Canada’s Chief Dental Officer states that “the safety and efficacy of water fluoridation has been frequently studied and continues to be supported by current science. Canadian and international studies agree that water that was fluoridated at optimum levels does not cause adverse health effects.”

Health Canada convened an expert panel to review fluoride. After an extensive toxicological review, it concluded that the weight of evidence from all currently available studies does not support a link between exposure to fluoride in drinking water and any adverse health effects, including those related to cancer, immunotoxicity, reproductive/developmental toxicity, genotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and/or intelligence quotient deficit.

Fluoridation of drinking water continues to be the most economical means of getting the proven protection that fluoride gives to teeth. Children need fluoride protection while their teeth are developing. Adults also benefit from fluoride since the risk of root decay increases with aging. A 2013 Canadian study estimates that for every dollar invested in water fluoridation, $71.05 to $82.83 is saved in dental costs.

Fluoride Frequently Asked Questions

See our Fluoride FAQs.

Fluoride Evidence Reference List 

Read a list of reviews that have been conducted concerning water fluoridation since 1997.

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