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Water Fluoridation Population

August 15, 2013

Water Works

From One in a Million: the Facts of Water Fluoridation

Artificial fluoridation of water, salt, and milk has become common, but it varies from country to country.

Water fluoridation has been introduced to varying degrees in many countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ireland, the UK and the US. It is used by 5.7% of people worldwide, so about 417 million people receive fluoridated water. About 50 million people are supplied with natural fluoridated water.


It is estimated that by 31st December 2008, nearly 196 million residents in the US have been supplied with fluoridated water. This represents 72.4% of the US population.


Many European countries have rejected water fluoridation in general. These include: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland. However, some European countries fluoridate salt.

Around 10% of the population of the United Kingdom receives fluoridated water. Nearly 6 million residents receive fluoridated water. About half a million people receive water that is naturally fluoridated with calcium fluoride which is different to sodium fluoride.

Around 10% of the population in Spain receives fluoridated water.


In China, water fluoridation began in 1965 in the urban area of Guangzhou. It was interrupted during 1976–1978 due to the shortage of sodium silico-fluoride. The fluoridation reduced the number of cavities, but increased dental fluorosis. As of 2002, there was no water fluoridation in China, except Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, water is totally fluoridated, at an average level of 0.49 mg/L

Water fluoridation is not practiced in India. Fluorosis is endemic in at least 20 states. The maximum permissible limit of fluoride in drinking water in India is 1.2 mg/L,and the government has been obligated to install fluoride removal plants of various technologies to reduce fluoride levels from industrial waste and mineral deposits.


In Nigeria about 20% of water sources are naturally fluoridated to recommended levels, about 80% have fluoride below recommended levels.

South Africa’s Health Department recommends adding fluoridation chemicals to drinking water in some areas. But, the legislation around mandatory fluoridation has been on hold since 2002.

South America

The expansion of water fluoridation in Brazil is a governmental priority. As of 2008, 3,351 municipalities, 60.3% of total, adopted fluoridation, up from 2,466 in 2000. The proportion of the national population affected is greater, because cities with fluoridation tend to be larger.

In Chile 70.5% of the population receive fluoridated water (10.1 million added by chemical means, 604,000 naturally occurring).
Source:  One in a Million: the Facts of Water Fluoridation, at


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