Updated on May 14, 2024
2 min read

Alaska Water Fluoride: Updated Statistics

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Water fluoridation has been a topic of ongoing discussion in Alaska, with varying levels of access to fluoridated water across the state. Recent data reveals that Alaska falls below the national average in terms of population served by fluoridated water systems. This article explores the current state of water fluoridation in Alaska, highlighting key statistics, trends, and incidents that have shaped the conversation surrounding this public health measure.

As of 2018, 49.6% of Alaska’s population served by public water systems had access to fluoridated water, representing a slight decrease from 52.9% in 2012. This places Alaska among the states with lower fluoridation coverage compared to the national average of 73.0%.

  • In 2018, only 49.6% of Alaska’s population served by public water systems had access to fluoridated water, compared to the national average of 73.0%.
  • A notable incident in May 1992 involved an overfeed of fluoride in Hooper Bay, Alaska, leading to one death and 260 people poisoned, marking it as the largest reported fluoridation accident to date.
  • After the cessation of community water fluoridation in Juneau in 2007, a study found a substantial increase in dental caries-related procedures and treatment costs for children from low-income families.

Gradual Decrease in Access to Fluoridated Water

Alaska has experienced a gradual decrease in the percentage of the population with access to fluoridated water over the years.

  • The percentage of the population with access to fluoridated water in Alaska decreased from 61.2% in 1992 to 49.6% in 2018.
  • This trend indicates a reduction in fluoridation coverage over the years.
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Local Control and Community Decisions

In Alaska, local governments control fluoridation policy, and city councils can begin or discontinue fluoridation at their discretion.

  • The State of Alaska does not mandate fluoridation but requires daily sampling and monitoring of fluoride concentrations in water supplies.
  • Several communities in Alaska, including Palmer, Fairbanks, and Juneau, have chosen to reject or discontinue water fluoridation over the years, reflecting local autonomy over fluoridation decisions.

Impact of Fluoridation Cessation

The cessation of community water fluoridation can have significant impacts on dental health, particularly for children from low-income families.

  • After the cessation of community water fluoridation in Juneau in 2007, a study found a substantial increase in dental caries-related procedures and treatment costs for children from low-income families.
  • This highlights the protective effect of fluoridation against dental caries.
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National Fluoridation Coverage

While Alaska’s fluoridation coverage is lower than the national average, it is important to consider the broader context of water fluoridation in the United States.

  • Nationally, 72.7% of the US population on community water systems, or 209,145,650 people, had access to fluoridated water in 2020.
  • The Healthy People 2030 objective aims for 77.1% of people served by community water systems to receive water with the optimum level of fluoride.

The varied landscape of water fluoridation in Alaska reflects the challenges and community-driven decisions regarding this public health measure. While the state falls below the national average in fluoridation coverage, local governments maintain control over fluoridation policies. The impact of fluoridation cessation on dental health, particularly among children from low-income families, underscores the importance of considering the potential consequences of discontinuing this practice.

Last updated on May 14, 2024
4 Sources Cited
Last updated on May 14, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. 2018 Water Fluoridation Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018.
  2. Alaska Fluoride Information.” Fluoride Action Network.
  3. Consequences of community water fluoridation cessation for Medicaid-eligible children and adolescents in Juneau, Alaska.” BMC Oral Health, 2022.
  4. 2020 Water Fluoridation Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020.
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