Water Fluoridation

Community Drinking Water

Fast Facts

  • Fluoride added to community drinking water (at a concentration of 0.7-1.2 parts per million) has been shown to be a safe, inexpensive, and extremely effective method of preventing tooth decay.
  • In Rhode Island, 88% of the population on public water receives fluoridated water. (Water Flouridation Reporting System, 2009)


  • Community water fluoridation benefits everyone in the community, regardless of age and socioeconomic status.
  • Community water fluoridation provides protection against tooth decay in populations with limited access to prevention services.
  • For every dollar spent on community water fluoridation, up to $38 is saved in treatment costs for tooth decay. (more)

Other Source of Drinking Water

Private wells

Well water may have naturally occurring fluoride and should be tested for fluoride content to determine if fluoride supplements should be prescribed by the child’s physician or dentist. Fluoride testing costs approximately $15 and must be conducted at a state-certified laboratory. (more)

Bottled water

Although most bottled water contains very low levels of fluoride, it is important to note that some brands may contain optimal or higher levels. Water labeled as purified, distilled, deionized, demineralized, or produced through reverse osmosis are always low in fluoride. Because there currently is no requirement to display the fluoride levels on bottle labels, you may want to consult an oral health professional to determine if you or your family need fluoride supplements to prevent tooth decay.