The town is citing a shortage of sodium fluoride, an additive that helps teeth but is not necessary to keep water drinkable.

NATICK, MA — Natick will run out of sodium fluoride for the town’s drinking water by Oct. 9 amid a nationwide shortage, the public works department is reporting.

Natick adds small amounts of sodium fluoride to the water for its dental health benefits, but it is not necessary to keep drinking water safe. The public works department said there is a nationwide supply chain issue disrupting availability of the element.

If the sodium fluoride does run out in October, the town would continue treating water as usual without it, and expects to begin adding it again in early December.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fluoride shortages have happened before. Florida is the biggest producer of fluoride products, and hurricane season can impact the product, according to the CDC.

“Fluoride products are produced in only a few areas of the country, and then must be transported to regional depots, typically by rail tanker car. Therefore, while there may be sufficient fluoride products nationally, a particular region may have shortages or disruptions,” the agency said. “Shortages or disruptions can also result from inclement weather in fluoride-producing areas. Florida is the largest producer of fluoride products, and hurricanes or other severe weather events can cause phosphate fertilizer manufacturers to suspend operations for several weeks at a time.”

Fluoride has been added to water in the U.S. for decades due to its ability to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. The first city to use the element in drinking water was Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1945.

The Natick public works department said other chemicals necessary to keep town drinking water safe are not in short supply.