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, toothpaste, and mouth rinses.
Community Water Fluoridation
Community Water Fluoridation (CWF) is a safe and effective public health intervention that prevents 25 percent of tooth decay for all age groups. 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.
Additionally, IDPH along with Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation and Iowa Public Health Association created a comprehensive state plan on Community Water Fluoridation in Iowa from 2017-2021.
For more information on the importance of CWF visit these credible resources:
Want to know the fluoride level for your community? Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website My Water’s Fluoride to find out. Also, for the annual CWF report visit the Reports & Data tab.
Our partners at Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation has funding opportunities for updating or installing fluoride equipment for communities in Iowa. If you are interested please contact Sara Carmichael-Stanley, Water Fluoridation Coordinator, at 515-204-3450.
Fluoride varnish is a safe and effective way to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. Due to the sticky form of fluoride varnish and the small amount used per application the risk of swallowing is very low. It is safe to use fluoride varnish as early as the eruption of the first baby tooth.
Fluoride varnish is used within the Title V Maternal and Child health programs including I-Smile and I-Smile @ School. Fluoride varnish is also being used on older adults in the I-Smile Silver program.
The Iowa Department of Public Health updated the Fluoride Varnish Protocol in July 2018. This protocol provides current information on the effectiveness, indications for use, and application of fluoride varnish.
Silver Diamine Fluoride
Silver Diamine Fluoride is a topical, minimally invasive treatment used to prevent and arrest tooth decay and decrease tooth sensitivity. It can be used on children and adults and is very cost effective, using only one drop to treat multiple teeth.
The Iowa Department of Public Health and the University of Iowa College of Dentistry collaborated on the development of a Silver Diamine Fluoride Protocol. This protocol provides more information on background, effectiveness, and application of silver diamine fluoride.