Community water fluoridation is considered a safe, effective, cost-efficient and equitable means to provide protection from tooth decay in a community. In addition, it protects teeth and bones from infancy to old age. As of 2012, 67.1% of Americans (more than 210 million people) received fluoridated water.

Community water supplies were first fluoridated more than 70 years ago in the U.S. to prevent tooth decay. By preventing tooth decay, fluoridation helps prevent needless infection, pain, suffering, loss of teeth and many negative effects to overall health.

On November 5, 2007, the First 5 Commission of San Diego voted unanimously to allocate a portion of its funding to water districts in San Diego County for fluoridation. Fluoridation of the City of San Diego and Olivenhain Municipal Water District are complete. A project is currently underway with Sweetwater Authority.

Water Fluoridation is Good for Kids…and Adults

  • Oral health is critical to overall health and a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school.
  • Community water fluoridation is the most cost-efficient way to promote strong oral health in children. Children living in communities with fluoridated tap water have fewer decayed teeth than children who live in areas where their tap water is not fluoridated.
  • Community water fluoridation is safe and effective for children and adults.
  • Hundreds of community groups from throughout San Diego, the state and the nation, representing millions of individuals, support community water fluoridation.

Tooth Decay in San Diego’s Young Children

  • Tooth decay (dental caries) is one of the most common and preventable diseases in infants and young children.
  • The estimated cost of treating early childhood caries (for children younger than 6 years) is approximately $7,200.
  • Approximately 37% of children 2-5 years of age in San Diego County are overdue for a dental visit (never been to a dentist or their last visit was over six months ago).
  • Children of racial or ethnic minority groups are much more likely to have untreated tooth decay in their permanent teeth.

Government Reports

Dental Care Associations

For questions and answers about community water fluoridation, click here to view the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community Water Fluoridation FAQs.


California Health Interview Survey. CHIS 2011-2012 Child Public Use File. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oral Health, Community Water Fluoridation. 2012 Water Fluoridation Statistics.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Division of Oral Health. Fact Sheet on Preventing Dental Caries with Community Programs, 2013.
Community Preventive Services Task Force. Preventing Dental Caries: Community Water Fluoridation website revised April 2013.
Hirsch GB, Edelstein BL, Frosh M, Anselmo T. A Simulation Model for Designing Effective Interventions in Early Childhood Caries. Preventing Chronic Disease. 2012;9:E66.
National Research Council. Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.
United States Census Bureau, Population Division. Census Population Count 2012. Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012.