Fluoride is a either a safe, naturally occurring element that helps prevent tooth decay or a malicious/foolish ploy by a conspiracy. Either way, water in Davis is not supplemented with fluoride, so those who can afford it can have it either way, choosing to add fluoride into their daily regimen or not. The natural levels of fluoride in Davis tap water are about 0.2 ppm, which is 1/3 the optimal level for the health benefits. Sacramento and Roseville supplement the municipal water supplies to optimal fluoride levels. Recent (late 2010) government evaluations have changed the recommended optimal levels of fluoride in drinking water from 1ppm to 0.7ppm. This change was based upon increasing levels of mild fluorosis in children and adolescents. Mild fluorosis causes minor (but harmless) visual imperfections in the teeth.

The city council considered a fluoridation project in 2013, but rejected it in an October vote of the same year. Link More recent developments regarding the fluoridation of drinking water include a movie: An Inconvenient Tooth - movie

Black tea and green tea are high in fluoride. Tea leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) contain a high concentration of fluoride and aluminum.

In fact, one woman suffered from high levels of fluoride because she made daily ice tea with a huge amount of tea bags over several years. She received an x-ray that showed dense areas in her skeleton. At first, doctors thought that she had bone cancer, however they soon discovered that it was due to excessive fluoride consumption. Over time, the body will eliminate the excess fluoride and the bones will return to normal due to the normal breakdown and renewal of bone material.

Fluoride is found in many everyday sources from tea, to orange juice from concentrate, to apple juice from concentrate, to soda, to bottled drinks, to milk, to cheese, to yogurt, etc. Soda is made with water from municipal water supplies that are fluoridated. Milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt come from cows that drink municipal water that is fluoridated. Many other foods are made with water that comes from fluoridated municipal water supplies. Animals raised for food consumption drink water from fluoridated water supplies. Crops are watered with fluoridated water. There is fluoride everywhere in our food supply. Of course, the fact that it is ubiquitous says nothing about whether it is safe or not because there are too many confounding factors and no control group; you need a control group to compare outcomes for those who are consuming fluoride in some specified amount to those who are not consuming fluoride.

Some people say that there are other concerns about our water and food supply that are much more important such as lead and arsenic in bottled fruit juices from concentrate or chickens that are fed arsenic to fatten them up.

Due to budget cuts, Sacramento may stop fluoridating the municipal water. By doing this, the city can save about $1 million per year. However, some counter that in the long run this will likely increase the need for state/federal funded dental programs because the fraction of a second a fluoride ion contacts a tooth while passing through one's mouth considerably increases dental hygiene.

Many of the factual/biased pieces of information on this page are taken from the Sacramento District Dental Society website For a healthy counterbalance in your water fluoridation opinions/knowledge , look here

Fluoride monitor (at left) in a community water tower pumphouse, Minnesota, 1987. Wikipedia Courtesy

Facts About Fluoride

  • Fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and to improve oral health over a lifetime.
  • More than 60 years of scientific research has found that people living in communities with fluoridated water have healthier teeth and significantly fewer cavities than people living where the water is not fluoridated.
  • Today, more than 162 million people in the United States drink fluoridated water – 66 percent of the U.S. population. In California, only 29 percent of the cities with public water supplies fluoridate.
  • Studies comparing the decay experience of people living in fluoridated versus fluoride-deficient areas demonstrate that adult who consume fluoridated water have a lower prevalence of dental decay.
  • The cost of fluoridation for a lifetime of protection is approximately $50 - less than the cost to fill just one cavity.
  • The California Dental Association has estimated that every dollar invested in fluoridation saves about $140 in dental bills.
  • DentiCal costs California taxpayers approximately $700 million every year, a significant part of which paid for treatments that could easily have been prevented with fluoridation.
  • More than 50 percent of today’s first-graders are cavity-free due to fluoridation.
  • In adults, fluoride can reduce cavities by up to 40 percent, while strengthening tooth enamel and preventing root and gum disease – helping adults keep their teeth for a lifetime.
  • The American Medical Association, American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization are among a myriad of major state, national and international health service organizations that strongly endorse the use of fluoridated water.
  • All water contains some fluoride naturally, but community water fluoridation, which has been safely consumed by the public for over 60 years, is the process of adjusting the fluoride content of fluoride-deficient water to the recommended level for optimal dental health.
  • Fluoride is a mineral naturally occurring in almost all food and water supplies and comes from the element fluorine, the 13th most abundant element in the earth's crust.

Myths about Fluoride

In the 1950s, water fluoridation was claimed to be a communist plot to weaken the United States

Myth: Fluoridation causes a decrease in bone health.

Fact: Current research indicates that when used consistently in appropriate doses fluoride stimulates the formation of bone, increases bone formation earlier, and increases spinal bone density. Research studies also show that fluoride may help rebuild bone loss in post-menopausal women suffering from osteoporosis. However, in very large doses, fluoride can be detrimental to bone health and cause gastro-intestinal problems.

Myth: In communities where fluoride is added to the drinking water there is an increase in cancer rates.

Fact: More than fifty studies have evaluated the possibility of an association between fluoride and cancer and found no relationship between community water fluoridation and cancer. Several independent expert panels of epidemiologists have reviewed the relevant scientific literature and agree that there is NO credible evidence for an association between either naturally occurring fluoride or adjusted fluoride in drinking water and risk of cancer in humans.

Myth: Fluoride is a poison.

Fact: Fluoride is NOT a poison at the concentrations found in optimally fluoridated water. Like minerals such as zinc and iron, fluoride is classified by the National Research Council as an important trace element in human nutrition. Many elements and minerals can be poisonous in the proper concentrations. With water fluoridated at 1ppm , an average adult would have to drink 660 gallons in 2-4 hours for it to be considered a poison. Consuming very large quantities of anything over several years could have adverse health effects.

Myth: There are harmful levels of contaminants in the fluorides used for water fluoridation.

Fact: Contaminants are pervasive in chemicals, but the contaminants found in the chemicals used for water fluoridation are controlled and regulated for volume and amount, so as not to be deemed harmful by the EPA. The United States Environmental Protection Agency regulates the maximum permissible level of contaminants in drinking water.

Yes, you do need to call poison control if you swallow your fluoridated toothpaste, but don't worry, it's perfectly safe to drink your fluoridated water everyday.


What is fluoride and how does it reduce tooth decay?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that prevents tooth decay when ingested systemically or applied to teeth topically.

The fluoride ion comes from the element fluorine. Fluorine, the 13th most abundant element in the earth's crust, is never encountered in its free state in nature. It exists only in combination with other elements as a fluoride compound. It is found in this form as a constituent of minerals in rocks and soil everywhere. Water passes over rock formations containing fluoride and dissolves these compounds, creating fluoride ions. The result is that small amounts of soluble fluoride ions are present in all water sources, including the oceans. Fluoride is present to some extent in all foods and beverages, in various concentrations.

Studies comparing the decay experience of people living in fluoridated versus fluoride-deficient areas demonstrate that adults who consume fluoridated water have a lower prevalence of dental decay.

Fluoride acts via 3 methods, all of these methods are achieved with topical fluoride:

  • Fluoride replaces the hydroxide ion in the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is made of hydroxyapatite, replacing the hydroxide ion with fluoride ion results in a stronger bond between the ions. The tooth structure is therefore, more resistant to acid demineralization.
  • Fluoride helps to rebuild enamel by sequestering calcium and phosphate ions from saliva. The fluoride ion binds to the enamel rods and facilitates the natural remineralization process (repairing of demineralized enamel from acid attack) that naturally occurs in saliva.
  • Fluoride interferes with the bacterial enzyme Enolase. Fluoride interferes with cavity causing bacterial pathways, therefore disrupting the bacteria's ability to metabolize sugar.

What is water fluoridation?

All water contains some fluoride naturally. Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the fluoride content of fluoride-deficient water to the recommended level for optimal dental health. In the United States, the optimum concentration for fluoride in the water has been established in the range of 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (ppm).

Why have some individuals and groups objected to water fluoridation?

Some people claim people oppose fluoridation out of fear and ignorance, several small but highly vocal groups were formed for the sole purpose of fighting fluoridation. Most of these organizations, however, lack sufficient resources or expertise to have much impact outside of the individual communities where they are based. Many people consider fluoridation mass medication and are opposed to this idea. Other people believe that there are negative health effects from fluoride that outweigh the dental benefits.

An entirely different group of people support the idea that fluorine does have clear health benefits, but object to the manner in which it is given. The fluorine is good; the method of non-choice application is a common way for small groups of people to decide and enforce their vision of what is "for the good" of all other individuals. Historically, many horrors have been committed in the name of helping the masses without their consent, and those people find that fluoridating the public water supply is a fundamentally objectionable and extreme method of delivery for a comparably minor benefit.

Aren’t there other effective alternatives to community water fluoridation?

Some people believe that there are effective alternatives to community water fluoridation. However, the fact is that while other community-based methods of systematic and topical fluoride delivery (e.g., school-based fluoride mouth rinse or table programs) have been developed, none is as effective as community water fluoridation and none is free from financial constraints or other drawbacks. Alternatives to community water fluoridation remain useful only for populations significantly isolated from public water systems (e.g., those on private wells). Other programs include fluoridated-salt in some European and South American countries (much as how common table salt in the USA is typically supplemented with iodine), as well as even milk-fluoridation programs aimed to help children in countries ranging from the UK to Russia. Fluoridated toothpaste is considered to be very effective, but as mentioned, none of these programs are as effective as community-based water-fluoridation at reaching those at highest risk and need.

Is tooth decay still a serious problem?

Yes. Dental caries (tooth decay) continues to be a significant oral health problem which is preventable through a combination of measures.

Tooth decay is, by far, the most prevalent and costly of oral health problems among all age groups.

It is also the principle cause of tooth loss from early childhood through middle age, when tooth loss from periodontal disease is a major concern. However, caries continues to be problematic for middle-aged and older adults, particularly root caries. In addition to its effects in the mouth, dental caries may affect general well-being by interfering with an individual's ability to eat certain foods and by impacting an individual's emotional and social well-being by causing pain and discomfort. Tooth decay, particularly in the front teeth, also can effect an individual's self-esteem by detracting from their appearance.

Do adults benefit from fluoridation?

Yes. Research has shown that the caries preventive effects of fluoride are not limited to children. Adults obtain substantial benefits as well.

Fluoride has both a systemic and topical effect and is beneficial to adults in two ways. The first is through the re-mineralization process, in which beginning carious lesions in the enamel fail to enlarge or may even reverse because of frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride. The other protective benefit is in the prevention of root caries, a progressive lesion of the root surface, affecting adults with gingival recession.

In addition to the direct benefits of successfully fighting tooth decay, water fluoridation has several indirect advantages to adults as well. These include reductions in pain from dental infections, fewer missing teeth, fewer abscessed teeth, reduced need for dentures, fewer cases of misaligned teeth caused by early tooth loss, and fewer school and working days lost due to dental disorders or visits to the dentist.

Is bottled water fluoridated?

Bottled water does not contain fluoride unless it says so on the label. Some supermarkets do indeed carry 1 gallon water bottles with fluoride and these bottles are clearly marked with the word fluoride. Fluoridated bottled water is sold mostly in cities where the municipal water supply does not fluoridate their water. Most convenience stores don't carry the water with fluoride. It is easier to get fluoridated bottled water (5 gallon) through water delivery companies like Arrowhead.

I have a Brita filter - is it removing the fluoride from my water?

Brita does not remove fluoride from the water. The only systems that do filter out fluoride use reverse osmosis.

Does my child need a fluoride prescription?

Because Davis municipal water does not contain optimal fluoride, fluoride supplements are recommended for optimal dental health. Check with your child's dentist for his/her recommendation regarding a fluoride prescription. There are fluoride toothpastes with higher levels of fluoride that are available by prescription. These toothpastes are used for people who have tooth decay and want to avoid potential cavities that require fillings.


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2010-02-25 09:55:34   "Topically-applied fluoride doesn't prevent tooth decay. It does render teeth detectable by spy satellites."hankim

2010-02-26 06:12:12   Fluoride is neither a nutrient nor required for healthy teeth. Ingesting fluoride does not reduce tooth decay; but does expose entire populations to fluoride's adverse health effects.

An expert panel convened by the National Research Council, at the behest of the Environmental Protection Agency, reviewed recent scientific evidence concerning fluoride's toxicity and reveals that fluoride, even at the low levels added to water supplies, can cause damage to bones, thyroid, teeth and can be harmful to kidney patients, babies and high water drinkers. The NRC panel said that the maximum contaminant level goal of fluoride in public water supplies is too high to be protective of health and must be lowered.

At least three NRC panel members recommend that the MCLG of fluoride be as close to zero as possible —nyscof

Davis water is 0.2 ppm. The EPA has the MCLG at 4.0. The controversy over the EPA's decision was that many people think 2.0ppm (or 3.0ppm) should have been the maximum. Either way, Davis is far, far below the MCLG (that's 20 fold below the MCLG the EPA set, and 10 fold below the expected maximum). And clearly, lower than the recommended levels. In fact, the WHO and others have recommended removal of fluoride in places where it's above the optimum dental benefit (which is some .7 to 1.2ppm). Nonetheless, they've all said fluoridation is beneficial. Regarding fluoridation, there seems to be a general notion that it's a United States oddity that's dangerous and not necessary.

Take a look at the salt in your pantry. Or next time you go to the supermarket. The bulk of the salt used in the United States is iodinated. Salt supplemented with iodine, it helps prevent thyroid issues and goiters, plain old table salt, right? Well, some countries use fluoridated salt - ranging from Germany and France in Europe out to Columbia and Jamaica. Other countries take a different approach and have some fluoridation programs aimed at children - the UK, Russia, Peru, Chile have milk-fluoridation. Milk! The world-wide scientific consensus is that fluoridation is very, very good. In the US you hear more about 'what if there's too much' arguments and simply more from people who are simply scared of it. I tend to think this is simply unintentional ignorance. Pretty much every first-world country, as well as the WHO, have agreed that fluoridation is critical in dental care and preventing carries and decay.

Water fluoridation is simply the easiest way to reach the most people, especially those at higher risk. The only real scientific dissenters (other than the aforementioned 2.0 vs 3.0 vs 4.0 MCLG debates) is that a few studies conclude that water fluoridation is unnecessary in areas where people have regular access to fluoridated toothpaste. Again though, putting it in the water reaches the people that need it most. To say that it's not required for healthy teeth is at this point just simply not true, as decades of research and empirical data have shown. -ES

2010-02-26 09:47:49   It is correct that fluoride does not need to be ingested to get its benefits, also it is not required for healthy teeth (but it sure helps). Fluoride is not considered a nutrient, but is considered an important (not essential) trace element. Topical fluoride DOES reduce tooth decay (There is absolutely NO debate about this) and ingesting fluoride provides fluoride ions for secretion into saliva for it to work its topical effects. To see how fluoride works, see the above FAQ. The benefits of fluoridation are primarily a public health measure, it primarily helps children who might otherwise receive poor oral health care. I support public fluoridation, but I can understand and respect people's opposition to it. —DagonJones

2011-07-20 20:05:47   Is there any way to get high on fluoride? Sometimes that other dental drug gets boring. —ScottMeehleib

2011-07-20 22:54:44   I took some fluoride when I was younger, it was tasteh! —StevenDaubert

2013-05-02 21:28:37   The ADA no longer recommends blanket use of fluoride supplements for most children in unfluoridated areas, as they had recommended for decades. In the November 2010 JADA they published their new recommendation which is to prescribe fluoride supplements only to children who are at high risk of caries and only after doing an assessment of their other sources of fluoride intake. See full article here: http://jada.ada.org/content/141/12/1480.full.pdf+html


2013-05-04 21:15:14   This article is terrible. A good place to start reviewing water fluoridation is the article "Systematic review of water fluoridation" - BMJ. 2000 October 7; 321(7265): 855–859. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC27492/ . The paper finds non-significant benefits in the meta-analysis, but concludes that most of the studies are of poor quality. We don't really know if it is of benefit, and we don't know how it harms people. We do know however that fluoride is toxic, and there is no nutritional requirement for it by the body.


2013-09-24 09:49:50   Here's a statement by Dr. J. William Hirzy, Vice President of the EPA Headquarters Union where he says that the EPA asked to be taken off the ADA's list of supporters for fluoridation. According to him the toxicity of fluoride (presumably he means either sodium fluoride or hexafluorosilic acid, which are the types of fluoride used for water fluoridation) is between that of lead and arsenic, but the EPA has set a far higher limit on its safety level than for the other two.


2013-10-10 12:42:09   I think this page contains very, very biased information. Unfortunately it is so much, I don't know where to start. —ConstantiaOomen

2013-10-10 12:56:57   Please not that the city of Davis has REJECTED water fluoride, and please note that the information on this page is not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/02/5789826/davis-rejects-fluoride-in-city.html

Want to add a voice of reason: Link "James Reeves: The solution for the fluoridation issue is very simple. SIMPLE SOLUTION: 1. Take the toxic waste fluoride chemical out of the drinking water. 2. It is still legal and available, so those who wish to take it can then put fluoride in their own glass of water. 3. Leave the rest of us out of it, giving everyone the freedom of choice. PROBLEM SOLVED FOR EVERYONE."


I think the Dentist who commented a few comments up was truthful and objective with his comment ~SD