Updated on May 20, 2024
3 min read

Oklahoma 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. Oklahoma, like many states, has a mixed stance on water fluoridation, with ongoing debates about its benefits and risks. This article delves into the current state of water fluoridation in Oklahoma, providing key statistics and insights into the challenges and opportunities for improving access to fluoridated water.

According to the most recent data, 52.57% of Oklahoma’s population served by all water systems had access to fluoridated water as of December 2021. This figure includes populations served by systems that adjust fluoride levels (77.02% of the fluoridated population) and those served by systems with natural fluoride levels. While this is a significant portion of the population, it falls below the national average of 72.7% of the U.S. population on community water systems receiving fluoridated water in 2020.

  • As of December 2021, 52.57% of Oklahoma’s population served by all water systems had access to fluoridated water.
  • The percentage of Oklahoma’s population with access to fluoridated water was 67.5% in 2018, indicating a decline in recent years.
  • Despite the recognized benefits of fluoridation, some Oklahoma communities have stopped fluoridating water due to cost concerns. As of 2014, about 62% of Oklahomans on public water systems had fluoridated water.

Changes in Access to Fluoridated Water

The percentage of Oklahoma’s population with access to fluoridated water has changed over time. In 2018, 67.5% of the population had access to fluoridated water, indicating a decline in recent years.

  • The detailed breakdown in 2021 shows a nuanced picture, with a significant portion of the population receiving naturally occurring fluoride in their water.
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Comparison to National Averages

Oklahoma’s figure of 52.57% for the population served by all water systems, including those with natural fluoride, is below the national average of 72.7% of the U.S. population on community water systems receiving fluoridated water in 2020.

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Legislation and Public Health Support

Oklahoma does not mandate statewide fluoridation, leaving the decision to fluoridate to local municipalities or water authorities. Recent legislative efforts, such as Senate Bill 165 filed by State Senator Nathan Dahm, propose to prohibit the addition of fluoride in the public water supply, reflecting ongoing debates about fluoridation in the state.

  • Community water fluoridation is supported by the Oklahoma Oral Health Coalition and recognized as “safe, effective and necessary in preventing tooth decay” by major health organizations.
  • Fluoridation is considered equitable, benefiting anyone who drinks fluoridated water.

Recent Developments and Challenges

Despite the recognized benefits of fluoridation, some Oklahoma communities have faced challenges in maintaining fluoridated water systems. Financial considerations have led some communities to stop fluoridating water, as the cost of maintaining and upgrading fluoridation equipment can be substantial.

  • As of 2014, about 62% of Oklahomans on public water systems had fluoridated water, indicating that cost concerns have impacted fluoridation decisions in recent years.
  • Nationally, 72.7% of the U.S. population on community water systems received fluoridated water in 2020, highlighting the gap between Oklahoma and the national average.

The statistics and legislative context presented in this article reflect Oklahoma’s mixed stance on water fluoridation. While a significant portion of the population has access to fluoridated water, the state falls below the national average, and ongoing discussions about the future of fluoridation policy continue. Addressing the challenges faced by communities in maintaining and expanding access to fluoridated water will be crucial in improving oral health outcomes for Oklahomans in the years to come.

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. Oklahoma Community Water Fluoridation Plan.” Oklahoma State Department of Health, 2021.
  2. 2020 Water Fluoridation Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022.
  3. Oklahoma senator files legislation to ban fluoride in public water supply.” KOKH-TV, 2023.
  4. Some Oklahoma communities stop fluoridating water because of cost.” The Oklahoman, 2014.
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