Updated on March 15, 2024
2 min read

Hawaii Water Fluoride: Updated Statistics

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Water fluoridation is a crucial public health measure that helps prevent tooth decay and improve oral health. However, the state of Hawaii has consistently lagged behind the rest of the nation in providing its residents with access to fluoridated water. Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation, Hawaii continues to face challenges in implementing this important public health intervention.

Here are some key statistics that highlight the current state of water fluoridation in Hawaii:

  • In 2020, only 46.2% of Hawaii’s population served by community water systems had access to fluoridated water, significantly below the national average of 72.7%.
  • Hawaii has the lowest rate of community water fluoridation in the nation, contributing to the state having the highest rate of tooth decay among third graders.
  • Not a single Hawaii county fluoridates its drinking water, with Honolulu County going so far as to specifically ban the practice in 2004.

Access to Fluoridated Water in Hawaii

Hawaii’s population has limited access to fluoridated water compared to the rest of the United States.

  • In 2020, only 46.2% of Hawaii’s population served by community water systems had access to fluoridated water.
  • The percentage of Hawaii’s population with access to fluoridated water decreased from 11.7% in 2014 to 8.8% in 2018.

Comparison to National Averages

Hawaii’s fluoridation coverage is significantly lower than the national average.

  • Nationally, 72.7% of the U.S. population on community water systems received fluoridated water in 2020.
  • Hawaii’s 2020 figure of 46.2% places it among the states with the lowest coverage of water fluoridation.

Public Health Impact

The lack of widespread water fluoridation in Hawaii has had a significant impact on the oral health of its residents, particularly children.

  • Hawaii’s low rate of community water fluoridation has contributed to poor oral health for children statewide.
  • A 2015 Hawaii Department of Health study found that the state has the highest rate of tooth decay in the nation among third graders.

Community Decisions on Fluoridation

Local governments in Hawaii have been resistant to implementing water fluoridation, with some even taking steps to ban the practice.

  • Not a single Hawaii county fluoridates its drinking water.
  • Honolulu County specifically banned water fluoridation in 2004.

The state of water fluoridation in Hawaii is a clear example of how public health can be impacted by local policies and decisions. Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the benefits of fluoridated water, Hawaii continues to struggle with providing this important public health measure to its residents. Addressing this issue will require a concerted effort from public health officials, policymakers, and communities to prioritize oral health and implement evidence-based interventions like water fluoridation.

Last updated on March 15, 2024
4 Sources Cited
Last updated on March 15, 2024
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