Updated on May 20, 2024
2 min read

North Carolina Water Fluoride: Updated Statistics

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North Carolina has a strong commitment to water fluoridation as a public health measure, with a higher percentage of the population having access to fluoridated water compared to the national average. In 2020, nearly 90% of North Carolina’s population was serviced by fluoridated water, a slight increase from 87.6% in 2018. This is significantly above the national average of 72.7% of the U.S. population on community water systems receiving fluoridated water in 2020.

The percentage of North Carolina’s population with access to fluoridated water has shown a steady increase over the years, from 78.5% in 1992 to 87.6% in 2018. This demonstrates the state’s ongoing efforts to expand access to this preventive oral health measure. Here are some key statistics about water fluoridation in North Carolina:

  • In 2020, nearly 90% of North Carolina’s population had access to fluoridated water.
  • Children with access to fluoridated water have 30% fewer cavities in their baby teeth and, as adolescents, they have 12% fewer cavities.
  • Union County in North Carolina voted to ban the use of fluoride in the county’s water system, reflecting the ongoing debate and local control over fluoridation policies within the state.
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Public Health Impact

The preventive oral health benefits of fluoridated water are significant.

  • Children with access to fluoridated water have 30% fewer cavities in their baby teeth.
  • Adolescents with access to fluoridated water have 12% fewer cavities.
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Legislation and Public Health Support

While North Carolina does not mandate statewide fluoridation, local governments control fluoridation policy.

  • City councils can begin or discontinue fluoridation at their discretion, or by a referendum vote.
  • Union County in North Carolina voted to ban the use of fluoride in the county’s water system, reflecting the ongoing debate and local control over fluoridation policies within the state.

National Water Fluoridation Statistics

While North Carolina’s fluoridation rates are higher than the national average, it’s important to consider the broader context of water fluoridation in the United States.

  • In 2020, 72.7% of the U.S. population on community water systems, or 209,145,650 people, had access to fluoridated water.
  • 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 CDC has identified community water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.

North Carolina’s commitment to water fluoridation is evident in the high percentage of its population with access to fluoridated water. Despite some local debates and decisions to ban fluoride, the state continues to prioritize this public health measure, recognizing its benefits in preventing cavities and promoting oral health. As the national conversation around water fluoridation continues, North Carolina serves as an example of a state that has embraced this preventive measure and seen positive results in the oral health of its residents.

Last updated on May 20, 2024
4 Sources Cited
Last updated on May 20, 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. 2020 Fluoridation Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020.
  2. Fluoride Access in WNC.” Oral Health NC, 2020.
  3. North Carolina.” Fluoride Action Network, 2023.
  4. North Carolina county bans fluoride from water supply.” ADA News, 2023.
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