Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that can help prevent cavities in children and adults by making the tooth enamel (outer surface) more resistant to the acids that cause tooth decay. Fluoride is found in food, water, other drinks, toothpastes, and mouth rinses.

Community Water Fluoridation

Community Water Fluoridation (CWF) is a safe and effective public health intervention that prevents 25% of tooth decay for all age groups. 

CWF is considered one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century—on par with vaccinations and public sanitation—and has done more to prevent tooth decay than any other public health intervention.


Community water fluoridation prevents 25% of tooth decay for all age groups.


Percentage of Iowans with access to fluoridated drinking water, over 2.3 million people.


The year community water fluoridation began, in Waukon, Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Public Health monitors fluoride levels in community water systems and provides relevant education to city officials, water municipalities, public health professionals, and the public.

How Does Water Fluoridation Work?

Water fluoridation works by providing frequent and consistent contact with low levels of fluoride to the teeth in order to reduce tooth decay. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all public drinking water supplies contain low levels of fluoride to provide a barrier against tooth decay. The current CDC recommended level of fluoride concentration in water is 0.7 mg/L.  Water operators closely monitor and adjust these levels on a daily basis. 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the regulatory agency for water fluoridation in Iowa.