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Private Wells and Fluoride

Fluorides are naturally occurring minerals known for preventing tooth cavities. A common way for people to get fluoride is through drinking water. It is often added to drinking water by community water systems when concentrations are very low. Private well owners need to test their water to know the concentrations. Learn about testing.
Fluoride in drinking water can help prevent dental cavities but it must be just the right amount - not too much and not too little. (Too much fluoride has negative health effects and not enough could mean oral health problems).

The ideal amount of fluoride in drinking water for oral health benefits, per the CDC, is 0.7 mg/L. Knowing the amount of fluoride in your drinking water could help your dentist tailor your treatments and better advise you about your daily regime, such as using toothpaste with fluoride. Talk to your oral health professional about the amount of fluoride in your private well drinking water.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes water fluoridation to be one of the top 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century due to its impact on Oral Health. To prevent cavities, dentists recommend getting just the right amount of fluoride in two ways:

  • Swallowing it from your drinking water, and,
  • putting onto the tooth surface, such through a toothpaste, mouthwash or dental treatment.

Learn more about Fluoride and Health.
Fluorides are naturally occurring minerals known for preventing tooth cavities. A common way for people to get fluoride is through drinking water. Too much fluoride has negative health effects and not enough could mean oral health problems.

Levels of various naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants in New Mexico groundwater including fluoride, might be elevated above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water primary or secondary standards. Ongoing drought conditions and aquifer mining have raised further concern that increases in contaminants may occur in the absence of significant ground water recharge events. To assure that the water is safe for human consumption, well owners should periodically test their wells.

The information available on this page, including the maps, shows fluoride found in tested private wells in New Mexico based on the data available from various sources.

To know the fluoride concentration in your water from your own well, you need to test. Learn about testing.

The secondary safe drinking water standard for fluoride is 2 mg/L. This secondary standard is based on cosmetic considerations (tooth discoloration). However, the primary safe drinking water standard for fluoride is 4 mg/L, to protect from skeletal fluorosis. Therefore, people drinking private well water with over 2 mg/L of fluoride, but less than 4 mg/L of fluoride, should consider water treatment or an alternate safe source of drinking water (such as bottled water). It is recommended that people who drink water containing fluoride over 4 mg/L treat their water or choose an alternate source of water such as bottled water. This is to reduce the risk over many years of health problems.
Learn more about private well water treatment.
Learn more about Fluoride and Health.

Wells Sampled 1950-2018

Fluoride levels in water samples from private wells vary between New Mexico counties and even within the same county.

The groundwater system in New Mexico is very complex. This complexity can lead to large fluoride concentration variability even among neighboring wells. Therefore, to know the fluoride concentration in your water from your own well, you need to test.

The secondary safe drinking water standard for fluoride is 2 mg/L. This secondary standard is based on cosmetic considerations (tooth discoloration called dental fluorosis).

The primary safe drinking water standard for fluoride is 4 mg/L, to protect from skeletal fluorosis. People who drink water containing fluoride in excess of EPA's standard and over many years could experience health problems.

Learn more about Fluoride and Health.
Fluoride Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells 1950-2018
Fluoride Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells 1950-2018
Fluoride Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells 1950-2018
Fluoride Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells 1950-2018
Fluoride Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells 1950-2018
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Content updated: Thu, 31 Jan 2019 12:44:35 MST