Community Water Fluoridation Facts Background

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Community Water Fluoridation Facts

  • In 1952, the Town of Norway became the first Maine community to provide fluoridated water to its residents. Today 63 water systems provide optimally fluoridated water to 133 communities throughout Maine.

Support for Fluoridation:

  • Based on over 60 years of research, fluoridation at the optimal level does not pose any adverse health risks.

  • Research and practical experience indicate that fluoridation has played an important role in the reduction of tooth decay in children by 30 – 70 percent and, ultimately, in tooth loss in adults by 30 – 70 percent as well.

  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognized fluoridation of drinking water as one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.

Water Fluoridation:

  • All water sources in Maine have varying levels of natural fluoride because fluoride is a natural mineral found in rock formations and soil.

  • Research by the United States Public Health Service established optimal fluoride levels in the United States. In Maine, that optimal fluoride level was established at 1.2 parts fluoride per million gallons of water or 1.2 ppm (also expressed as 1 Mg/L, or 1 milligram per liter).

  • When considering water fluoridation the first step is to measure the naturally occurring fluoride in the water source. Then, the fluoride content can be adjusted to Maine’s optimal level of 1.2 ppm.


  • In August 1993, the National Research Council, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, released a report prepared for the EPA confirming that the current optimal fluoride levels in public drinking water did not pose health risks. In March of 2006, a new and comprehensive report reconfirmed this after a comprehensive review of the literature found no evidence of negative health effects at the levels used in community water supplies.

Oral Health Program

Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention

Maine Department of Health & Human Services

Tel: (207) 287-2361 TTY: 800-606-0215

May 2010

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