The benefits of community water fluoridation have been proven through countless scientific studies. Safe and effective, it benefits everyone equitably and has been cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as one of the top ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th Century.

Through the efforts of multiple stakeholders, CDA leadership, legislative advocacy, and funding from the California Endowment, 24 million California residents (63.7 percent of the population) receive fluoridated water, a significant increase from 17 percent in the 1990s. This remarkable effort earned California the State Fluoridation Initiative Award, and the CDA Foundation was recognized by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors.

Even with our great progress, California ranks 36th among states in the percentage of the population receiving fluoridated water, and California's children have some of the highest rates of decay in the nation. That is why CDA remains committed to the effort of helping California residents have stronger, healthier teeth.

Fluoridation Chart

Today, 24 million residents, 63.7 percent of the state’s population receive the benefits of fluoride, an increase of 47 percent since the 1990s.

Quick Fact

For most communities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation saves $38 in dental treatment costsADA Fluoridation Facts

Fluoridation Resources

Education and Science

  • A study, published June 2018 in the Journal of Dental Research, reaffirms the benefit of community water fluoridation (CWF). The study found that where 75% or more of the population in a community has access to CWF, there was “a substantial caries-preventive benefit . . . for U.S. children and that the benefit is most pronounced in primary teeth.”
  • Fluoride and IQ: Information on a recent study conducted in Mexico
  • The Campaign for Dental Health provides extensive and excellent educational resources on community water fluoridation at ILikeMyTeeth.org.
  • Check the scientific facts on fluoride at the American Association of Public Health Dentistry's Fluoride Science website.
  • The CDC has developed downloadable materials to help educate audiences on the value of community water fluoridation.
  • In 2014, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published Fluoride and Dental Caries Prevention in Children, an easy to understand, comprehensive resource on the benefits and proper use of fluoride for caries prevention in children.
  • The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides extensive information about the science, practice, and benefits of community water fluoridation.

Optimal levels

Disease reduction and cost savings

  • In 2006, the Community Water Fluoridation program in Juneau Alaska was discontinued. A recent study (2018) on what has happened since reaffirms what fluoridation advocates have been saying for decades: community water fluoridation plays a significant role in preventing dental decay.
  • Two published studies conducted by the CDC reaffirm that widespread community water fluoridation prevents cavities and saves money
  • The April 2015 edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association features an innovative study utilizing system dynamics modeling to measure the disease reduction and costs savings of community water fluoridation in the New York State Medicaid program.

Gayle Mathe, RDH  
Director, Community Health Policy and Programs

Quick Fact

Although other fluoride-containing products are available and contribute to the prevention and control of dental caries, community water fluoridation has been identified as the most cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all mem­bers of the community regardless of age, educational attainment, or income level
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal Panel on Community Water Fluoridation

Children's Oral Health
ADA's Healthy Mouth website