What is Fluoride and is it in my water?

Chemicals can sound scary, and knowing what your local government is using to clean and fortify the water that comes out of your tap is important. Let’s clear some things up. Fluoride is a naturally occurring chemical that can be used to prevent the buildup of plaque. It can be topically applied to teeth, or taken orally through a supplement or added to water. Many municipalities choose to add fluoride to their tap water, which makes keeping your teeth protected easy. That isn’t the case in Portland or Clark County.

From the Portland Water Bureau

“The Portland Water Bureau does not add fluoride to the water. Fluoride is a naturally occurring trace element in surface and groundwater. The U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider the fluoride levels in Portland’s water sources to be lower than optimal for the prevention of tooth decay. You may want to consult with you dentist about fluoride treatment to help prevent tooth decay, especially for young children.”


From Clark Public Utilities

“We keep our water as pure as possible, adding only a trace of chlorine necessary to ensure the water delivered to your home is free of harmful bacteria. We don’t add any other chemicals such as fluoride to the water you drink.”


If you live in Vancouver proper, your water is treated:

From the City of Vancouver

“Vancouver’s water is fluoridated with sodium fluoride – not fluoride byproducts from other processes –  to about 0.6-0.8 milligrams per liter in compliance with federal and state regulations and guidelines. Most water supplies contain some naturally occurring fluoride. Many communities add fluoride to their drinking water to promote dental health. Fluoridation in the City of Vancouver dates back to a 1961 Council ordinance that was supported by a citizens’ referendum in early 1962.”


Topical fluoride treatment is another way to maintain fluoride levels adequate for keeping your teeth healthy. This is especially important if you live in an area with tap water not treated with fluoride, but should be seen as a common, and worthwhile procedure, for anyone who wishes to maintain a healthy smile.

Fluoride Treatment by a dentist

Fluoride treatment is simple and painless. At Island Family Dental we apply a light coating in a pleasant tasting paste of your choice, and rinse it off. It takes only a few minutes, but you might have to wait half an hour to ensure your teeth fully absorb the fluoride before eating or drinking. Fluoride treatment is a part of a typical cleaning and takes just a few minutes.

Fluoride helps prevent the buildup of plaque causing bacteria, while also repairing damage to the surface of teeth. This is especially important for young children as they are losing their baby teeth, exposing adult teeth. In-office fluoride treatment is an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene, especially in a region that does not supplement their water supply with fluoride.

Schedule an appointment at Island Family Dental today!

Do You Have a Question about
Dentistry in Vancouver?

Ask Dr. Newkirk Now!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.