Colorado water canyon

Why Water Fluoridation is Good for Communities

Water Fluoridation for Healthy Communities is a strong proponent of equitable and sustainable health for every Coloradan. Water fluoridation is one viable way to help every member of the community achieve and maintain strong, healthy teeth.

Good oral health brings more benefits in addition to a beautiful smile. As a community, good oral health may translate to an improvement in various social and economic aspects.

In the wake of talks about discontinuing water fluoridation, we believe it’s more important than ever to bring forward correct, science-backed information about the range of health benefits of fluoride in tap water.

Here are some ways we benefit from the presence of fluorine in our drinking water.

Keep tooth decay at bay

One of the most common benefits of fluoride in drinking water is the prevention of one of the most common diseases among children: tooth decay. But the protective properties of fluorine are not exclusive to children. In fact, research reveals that the presence of fluoride in community water systems prevents at least 25% of tooth decay in both children and adults.

Keeps community members healthy and productive

Studies say that every year, approximately 51 million and 164 million school and work hours, respectively, are lost due to dental-related illnesses. Community water fluoridation fares so well in controlling tooth decay that it made Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of 10 great 20th-century public health achievements.

Recommended by experts

Scientific evidence has consistently affirmed the safety and efficacy of community water fluoridation. Many experts recognize the benefits of fluoride in water, and fluoridation has been endorsed for the prevention of dental decay by numerous health organizations including the U.S. Surgeons General, American Dental Association (ADA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Medical Association (AMA), the and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Saves money

The benefits of fluorine extend to household and local government budgets. This is because the average cost to fluoridate a water supply for every member of the household is less than the cost of a dental filling. In most cities, every $1 invested in water fluoridation yields a $38 saving in dental treatment costs.

The benefits of fluoride: what are the thoughts of community members?

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



mom and child showing their white teeth
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
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
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
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
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
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
Center for Health Progress
Dana Kennedy
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, Director of Community Partnerships
Center for Health Progress
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.