Water Fluoridation Facts and Information

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Water Fluoridation
Fluoride, one of the most plentiful elements on earth, occurs naturally in water supplies. When fluoride is present in drinking water at optimal levels, it has been shown to promote oral health by preventing tooth decay. Water fluoridation is the addition of small amounts of fluoride to a water supply to achieve a fluoride level that helps prevent tooth decay. California's fluoridated drinking water act, Assembly Bill 733, became law in 1995, requiring water systems with 10,000 or more service connections to fluoridate once funding is available. 

Fluoridation Information

  • All drinking water naturally contains some fluoride. Community water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the naturally occurring fluoride level to the optimum level for preventing tooth decay. 
  • Adults, as well as children, benefit from drinking fluoridated water throughout their lives. 
  • More than half (62%) of the U.S. population lives in communities served by fluoridated water supplies. 
  • Community water fluoridation has the endorsement of every major health organization in the United States and many other countries, as well as every Surgeon General for the past 50 years. 
  • Every $1 spent on fluoridation saves $120 in dental treatment costs. 
  • Fluoridation will not change the taste, odor or appearance of your water.

Fluoridation Benefits People of All Ages
Drinking fluoridated water, as part of your diet, will provide about 60 percent of the protection necessary to fight against cavities. Fluoride works to strengthen tooth enamel so teeth become more resistant to decay, and it reverses newly formed cavities.

Optimal Fluoride Level
The San Francisco Water Department, a wholesale water provider to the City of Santa Clara, will supplement naturally-occurring fluoride in the drinking water to meet the levels recommended by the California Department of Health Services (CDHS), 1.0 milligram of fluoride per liter of water (mg/L) or 1 part per million.

Although the San Francisco Water Department has chosen to fluoridate the water purchased by the City, the City does not plan to fluoridate the other sources of water. The capital and operational costs associated with fluoridating all 28 water sources within the City of Santa Clara is prohibitively expensive. 

Fluoridation Safety
Extensive research conducted over the past 50 years has shown that fluoridation of public water supplies is a safe and effective way to reduce tooth decay for all community residents.
The overall value and safety of community water fluoridation is endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by the U.S. Surgeon General. Community water fluoridation is endorsed by numerous public health and professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Association of Public Health, U.S. Public Health Service, World Health Organization and the American Dental Association. 

Dietary Fluoride Supplements
Health professionals advise that fluoride supplements, whether pills or drops, must be discontinued once water fluoridation begins. Drinking optimally fluoridated water on a regular basis makes the use of fluoride supplements unnecessary.

More Information
For information on fluoride in your drinking water call the City of Santa Clara Water Utility at 615-2000. For health-related information, you can call the Santa Clara County Public Health Department at (408) 885-3980.

More information is also available on the following web sites:

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