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FAQs About Community Water Fluoridation

*This webpage is for information purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for professional dental advice.*

What is fluoride?

  • Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in the soil, air, water, plants and animals. Fluoride helps protect teeth against cavities.

Why is fluoride added to community drinking water?

  • Fluoride has been proven to help protect teeth against cavities. Adding fluoride to community drinking water is the most efficient and cost-effective way to provide residents with the proven protection of fluoride against cavities.
  • Most drinking water sources in Canada contain low levels of naturally-occurring fluoride. Community water fluoridation adjusts the level of naturally-occurring fluoride to an optimal concentration to protect teeth against tooth decay.

What additive is used for water fluoridation in the Region of Peel?

  • The Region of Peel currently uses fluorosilicic acid (FSA) derived from calcium fluoride for water fluoridation.
  • The FSA additive is used to adjust the level of naturally occurring fluoride in the Region of Peel’s lake-based municipal water supply to the optimal concentration range to protect against tooth decay.
  • The FSA used in the Region of Peel meets the industry and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change accepted standards.

How much fluoride is added to Peel’s community drinking water?

  • The level of naturally-occurring fluoride in Peel’s Lake-based municipal water supply is adjusted to an optimal concentration range to protect against tooth decay: 0.5 mg/L to 0.8 mg/L, as recommended by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s Technical Support Document for Ontario Drinking Water Standards, Objectives and Guidelines.

Who monitors the fluoride levels in Peel’s community drinking water?

  • The Region of Peel’s departments of Public Health and Public Works diligently monitor fluoride levels in the Lake-based municipal water supply to ensure the optimal concentration range is being maintained.

With other forms of fluoride widely available (i.e., toothpaste), is fluoridating community drinking water still necessary and effective?

  • Yes. Studies suggest that, even with the widespread access to fluoride toothpastes, rinses and topical applications administered by dental health professionals, community water fluoridation continues to be effective in helping to reduce cavities. Community water fluoridation protects the dental health of everyone, regardless of their income, immigration status, age or education.

Is water fluoridation harmful to health?

  • No. Scientific research strongly supports community water fluoridation as a safe and effective way to help protect against cavities. Further, fluoride in the safe concentrations found in Peel’s continuously monitored Lake-based municipal water supply does not pose any health hazards to humans of any age. The only known adverse effect is dental fluorosis, which is a cosmetic concern only, and does not affect the function of the teeth (see next question below).

What is dental fluorosis?

  • Dental fluorosis is largely a cosmetic condition and occurs when too much fluoride is ingested by children during the early stages of tooth formation. In Peel, dental fluorosis typically occurs in its mildest forms and can result in the discolouration of the tooth surface. This is often only detectable by a trained professional and does not impact the tooth’s function.

Is it safe to mix infant formula with fluoridated water?

  • Yes. For infants who are formula-fed, mixing infant formula with optimally fluoridated community drinking water does not pose a risk to their health, growth and/or development. Similarly, community water fluoridation does not pose a risk to infants who are breastfed. (Peel Public Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.)

Who supports community water fluoridation?

  • Many provincial, national and international organizations support community water fluoridation as a safe and effective way to provide all residents, regardless of their income, immigration status, age or education, with the protective benefits against cavities. Some of these organizations include, but are not limited to:
      • Health Canada
      • Canadian Dental Association
      • Canadian Public Health Association
      • Ontario Dental Association
      • Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario
      • American Dental Association
      • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      • World Health Organization

Where can I get additional information on community water fluoridation?

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Revised: March 24, 2020

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