Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the natural level of fluoride in the water supply to between 0.7ppm and 1.0ppm. This is the optimal amount that provides protection against tooth decay, and is recommended by the World Health Organization. For more information on fluoridation, please visit the Ministry of Health.

Community water fluoridation helps build strong, healthy teeth.

Fluoride is a natural substance that helps protect our teeth by making them stronger and by reducing tooth decay. It exists naturally in water and many foods.


  • makes teeth more resistant to decay by strengthening the tooth surface
  • interferes with the growth of the bacteria that cause cavities (holes in your teeth)
  • helps to repair the early stages of tooth decay.

The level of fluoride found naturally in New Zealand waters is not high enough to prevent tooth decay, so many public water supplies in New Zealand have fluoride added to them. This ‘topping up’ with fluoride is recommended by the World Health Organization.

Who decides about water fluoridation?

Currently local authorities make decisions regarding community water fluoridation.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service fully supports the Ministry of Health’s recommendation that community water fluoridation is continued in currently fluoridated areas, and introduced in non-fluoridated areas where possible.

Community water fluoridation is a cost-effective way to prevent tooth decay among large numbers of people, particularly children.

Children from families with greater needs and lower incomes often have poorer teeth than children from other families. Fluoridating water makes it easy for these children to have stronger, healthier teeth.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service wants all children in the Auckland region to have the same opportunity to have healthy teeth. We believe water fluoridation should be promoted as a way to reduce differences in tooth decay between different groups.

Our clinical director, Dr Julia Peters, says the vast majority of medical and dental organisations support water fluoridation as a safe and proven way to protect the oral health of New Zealanders.

“Fluoridating water is an important public health initiative that has reduced tooth decay over the last 60 years. It should be available to all our communities, especially our most vulnerable ones.

“Water fluoridation is the only free dental health intervention for adults, and it provides powerful protection against tooth decay at recommended safe levels.”

We have a commitment under legislation to improve, promote and protect the health of the people of the Auckland region. Fluoride is proven to help build strong, healthy teeth. As such, it is our role to support its use and provide the public with information about its benefits.  


Last updated 23.11.2018

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116
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