Community Water Fluoridation
Studies have shown that fluoride prevents tooth decay through contact with a child's teeth during the tooth-forming years and through direct contact with teeth throughout the lifespan. Water fluoridation is the most inexpensive way to distribute the benefits of fluoride to the community. Communities that participate in water fluoridation adjust the level of fluoride in their water supply to ensure sufficient levels of fluoride are contained in the water given to the public.
Over half of the U.S. population lives in communities that provide fluoridated water. About 30 million Americans live in areas, largely rural, that do not have the benefits of fluoridated water. Currently, most large cities provide fluoridated water. However, in Oregon, only about 22% of the population receives the benefits of fluoridated water. The Healthy People 2010 benchmark is 75%. To find out if your community provides fluoridated water, you can call or send a letter to the utility that provides water to your community. You can also ask physicians, dentists, and pharmacists in your community, or contact the local, county, or state health department.
Other Sources of Fluoridation
If your community does not participate in water fluoridation, other sources of fluoride are available. Daily fluoride supplements can be prescribed by a dentist or physician, if needed, and if the home water supply has been shown to contain insufficient fluoride.
Oregon's Drinking Water Program
The Drinking Water Program administers and enforces drinking water quality standards for public water systems in the State of Oregon. Find out more.