Maine Oral Health Program

Water Fluoridation

Fluoride added to community drinking water has been shown to be a safe, inexpensive and extremely effective method of preventing tooth decay. Community water fluoridation has been recognized by the US CDC as one of the 10 great public health achievements in the 20th century. Community water fluoridation provides benefits everyone in the community, regardless of age and socioeconomic status, and thus it provides protection against tooth decay in populations with limited access to preventive services. Fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25% over a person’s lifetime. Every dollar spent on community water fluoridation saves at least $38 in costs for dental treatment.

In 2001, the National Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent, non-federal, multi-disciplinary Task Force appointed by the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), conducted a systematic review of studies of community water fluoridation. They found in communities that initiated fluoridation the decrease in childhood decay was almost 30% over 3-12 years of follow-up. In April 2013, the Task Force issued a statement recommending that communities provide fluoridated water because of its “strong evidence of effectiveness” in reducing tooth decay. Read that statement here.

Nationally, more than 204 million people in the United States are served by public water supplies that contain enough fluoride to protect teeth, or about 74 percent of people using public systems. In 2014 the percentage of Maine people on public water supplies who have fluoridated water is about 80%. About 49% of Maine people use public water supplies. This means that overall about 40% of Maine’s total population has fluoridated drinking water in their homes.

To find out if a community water system is fluoridated, check with the water system or review the annual water quality report that is sent to all consumers. Information can also be found at the US CDC’s web page called My Water's Fluoride, at http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/MWF/Index.asp. The web page displays a map of the US. Click on Maine, then the county, and then locate the water supply by name.

The Maine CDC supports water fluoridation as a safe and cost effective way to assure that all members of a community have access to this preventive health measure. Read the Maine CDC’s statement on community water fluoridation here.

For more information on fluoride and community water fluoridation: