Colorado water canyon

Across Colorado, community members and leaders are speaking up about the role water fluoridation plays in supporting the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Quotation
As both a pediatrician and mom, I know that community water fluoridation is essential to the health of children. Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel of teeth, which protects against tooth decay. Healthy teeth and mouths are an essential part of a healthy child, and community water fluoridation is an important step we can take to nurture good oral health.
Patty Braun, MD, MSPH, Pediatrician
Denver Health
Erin Miller
Quotation
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children in the United States. Fluoridation is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay, fillings, and missing teeth in kids. Protecting kids’ healthy smiles helps to avert long-term health care costs and productivity losses, and leads to higher incomes later in life.
Erin Miller, Vice President, Child Health Initiatives
Colorado Children’s Campaign
William Bailey
Quotation
It’s important to make it easier for people to make healthy choices. Using tap water with fluoride for drinking and cooking is an easy way for Coloradans to improve their health. Tap water with fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and reduces tooth decay by as much as 25%. And it works for people of all ages.
William Bailey, DDS, MPH
University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine
Quotation
Growing up on well water, I wish that I had had the benefit of water with the right amount of fluoride to strengthen my teeth. Community water fluoridation is a public health solution that results in better dental health for everyone.”
Claire Ochsner
Community member and aspiring health care professional
Dante Valdez
Quotation
I was 22 before a dentist had a serious talk with me about my dental health. Water fluoridation is one way to ensure that everyone, regardless of where they live, has basic oral health protections. Every human being—from the youngest child to the oldest adult—has the right to a healthy smile, and fluoride helps protect those smiles.
Dante Velez
Denver native and community advocate
Aubrey Hill
Quotation
Fluoride is extremely important for those who don’t have regular access to dental care. While everyone benefits from it, those who benefit most are people who are uninsured or can’t afford to see a dentist. Community water fluoridation is an important equity issue.
Aubrey Hill, Director of Health Systems Change
Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved
Dana Kennedy
Quotation
We believe that everyone--regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or geography--deserves to lead healthy, productive lives. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and is an important tool in reducing health disparities in communities with limited or no access to oral health care. Oral health is essential to overall health, and that's why we support community water fluoridation.
Dana Kennedy
Community Network Manager at the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved
Colorado water

A local discovery leads to better health

In the early 1900s, an observant dentist from Colorado Springs named Frederick McKay began studying a brown stain on many local residents’ teeth. He enlisted other practitioners, including G.V. Black, in studing what became known as “Colorado Brown Stain.” After years of research, McKay discovered that people with the harmless brown stain were also highly resistant to tooth decay. The evidence pointed to the local water, which was rich with fluoride minerals.

It turned out that the high level of natural fluoride minerals was creating both the harmless stain and unusually healthy teeth. Fortunately, researchers learned that lower levels of fluoride minerals provided the same health benefits without the unsightly stain.

This discovery led to the broader use of water fluoridation to support the health of people across the nation and now benefits more than 70% of Americans. Water fluoridation has helped reduce tooth decay among Americans and healthcare professionals hail it as one of the top public health successes of our time, right along with tobacco reduction and vehicular safety efforts.

Most water providers in Colorado monitor the amount of fluoride that is naturally present in the water, and then adjust it, if necessary, to reach the optimal level for the prevention of tooth decay. In some cases, the mountains give our water the right amount of minerals to support good health. In others, water providers can adjust levels to support healthy communities.