Most water supplies contain trace amounts of fluoride. Water systems are considered naturally fluoridated when the natural level of fluoride is greater than 0.7 parts per million (ppm). When a water system adjusts the level of fluoride to 0.7–1.2 ppm it is referred to as community water fluoridation.

How does fluoride work?

Tooth decay is an infectious and transmissible bacterial disease. When a person eats sugar, or other refined carbohydrates, some oral bacteria produce acid that removes minerals from the surface of the tooth, a process that is known as demineralization. If the demineralisation process continues for a period of time, a cavity is formed. If fluoride is available, the demineralization process can be reversed, thereby preventing the cavity. In addition, fluoride reduces the ability of the oral bacteria to produce acid.

Community water fluoridation

It has been demonstrated that fluoride's action in preventing tooth decay provides a benefit to both children and adults throughout their lives. The health benefits of fluoridation include a reduction in the frequency and severity of tooth decay, a decrease in the need for fillings and tooth extractions, a reduction in pain and suffering associated with tooth decay, and the obvious elevation of self-esteem that goes with improved oral functioning and appearance.

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