Raise A Glass to Fluoride in Water

Young girl drinking water on a kitchen counter.

Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 73% of people in the United States who drink or use water offered by their city or county have access to fluoride in water?

Fluoride in water is good for you because it can make your teeth stronger and prevent cavities. Plus, drinking enough water can be good for your health. But what is fluoride and why is it so important?

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral released from rocks into the soil, water and air. All water naturally contains a little bit of fluoride. You can also find fluoride in your toothpaste and mouthwash.

What is great about fluoride in water is that it protects your teeth! It strengthens the hard, outer layer of your tooth known as tooth enamel. Additionally, fluoride in water reduces tooth decay by up to 25% among children and adults.

Drinking water improves your health

Beyond the fluoride, drinking water helps your oral health by washing away leftover food. It also keeps your mouth from being dry and is a healthier option than sugary and acidic drinks like soda or juice. Drink more water to boost your overall health and well-being and:

  • Increase your energy level
  • Reduce headaches
  • Help your body keep the right temperature
  • Improve your skin, heart and kidney health
  • Enhance how your body breaks down food

To enjoy those benefits, most people need about four to six cups of plain water each day.

Are there any risks to using fluoride?

Too much fluoride when teeth are still growing may cause barely visible white streaks or specks on the hard, outer layer of the tooth. This is known as dental fluorosis. People who have dental fluorosis still have healthy teeth and may even be less likely to decay.

To avoid dental fluorosis, the American Dental Association provides these guidelines for brushing children’s teeth:

  • For children age 3 and younger, only use a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. For ages 3 to 6, use a small pea-sized amount.
  • Don’t use fluoride mouthwash until the child is fully able to rinse and spit. This is usually when they are around 6 to 8 years old.
  • When your child is old enough, try to get them to spit out any extra toothpaste. Although, swallowing a small amount is not harmful.

Around age 8 or 9, your child’s teeth are developed and they are no longer at risk for dental fluorosis.

Does my city or county have fluoride in the water?

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, only 57.8% of Arizonans have access to the recommended levels of fluoride in their water to protect their teeth from cavities. There is no statewide policy that requires cities to fluoridate their water. However, many cities (including Bisbee, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Yuma) make sure their water supply is at the recommended levels. You can check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, My Water’s Fluoride, to see if fluoride is in your water.

If you live in a city or county that does not have fluoride in the water, speak with your dentist about other ways to get the right amount of fluoride to protect your teeth from cavities. Your dentist may have you try a drop, tablet, lozenge or other fluoride product.

Learn more about the benefits of fluoride:

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