In 1945, Fluoride was added to the water supply of a city in Grand Rapids (Michigan). The result was a drop in the number of cavities among schoolchildren by almost 60%. As a way to improve oral health in communities, water fluoridation became a popular practice. Today, about 75 percent of American homes have fluoridated water. Despite the fact that fluoride is good for your oral health, it is becoming more controversial to use community water fluoridation because of potential side effects. Here are the facts and figures about fluoride and how to determine if your water has been fluoridated.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride, a compound of fluorine, is a mineral that naturally occurs in teeth, bones, and water. Fluoride is used to strengthen the enamel (the outer layer of your tooth) and prevent cavities.
Why Is Fluoride Added Water?
Fluoride is often added to water to prevent cavities and improve and maintain dental health. Fluoride is a naturally occurring element in water. However, it is often too low to prevent tooth decay. Many municipalities have adjusted the fluoride level to 0.7 mg/liter. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 0.7 mg/L is the ideal level of fluoride to prevent tooth decay in children and adults.
After scientists discovered that fluoride in water was naturally present in some areas, community water fluoridation was initiated. In 1945, fluoride was added to Grand Rapids’ water supply. It was an experiment, but it proved so effective in improving the community’s oral health that fluoridation was adopted as a standard. Fluoridated water is now available in 75 percent of American homes.
What Are The Safe Levels Of Fluoride For Drinking Water?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, safe levels for fluoride in drinking waters are less than 4.0 mg/L. The Maximum Contaminant Level of fluoride in water supplied by public water systems was set at 4.0 mg/L by the EPA. Fluoride levels in water should be kept at a minimum of 0.7 mg/L. Fluoride levels higher than 0.7 mg/L can increase the chance of dental fluorosis (a cosmetic condition that causes stained or discolored teeth) in children.
What Side Effects Can Fluoride Have On Water?
Fluoride in water can have both positive and harmful side effects. Fluoride in water can have both positive and negative side effects. However, it is highly unlikely that community water fluoridation will cause adverse health effects. Public water systems contain too little fluoride. The CDC continues to support the safety and effectiveness of community water fluoridation. It does not cause any adverse health effects other than dental fluorosis.
However, some areas, such as large portions of Asia and Africa have large geologic fluoride deposits that could contaminate water sources. Even though it is rare, industrial chemicals can expose people to dangerous levels of fluoride. These situations can lead to an excessive intake of fluoride and could be linked to the health hazards listed below.
Fluoride Water Benefits:
- There are fewer and more severe cavities
- Rebuilds weak tooth enamel
- Early signs of tooth decay can be reversed
- Protects against the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth
- There is less need to fill cavities and extract teeth
Fluoride In Water Can Pose A Risk
- Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic condition that results in stained and discolored teeth due to excessive fluoride exposure by infants and children.
- Skeletal fluorosis is when high levels of fluoride build up in bones. This can cause joint pain, muscle impairment, and stiffness.
- Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is under-active. This can cause fatigue, weight gain, and increased sensitivity to cold and dry skin.
- Lower IQ
How To Get Rid Of Fluoride In Drinking Water
Reverse osmosis activated alumina filters, and bone char carbon filters can remove fluoride from water.
Reverse Osmosis uses pressure and water to force unfiltered water through semipermeable membranes. The membrane’s pores are small enough for water particles to pass through, but contaminants such as fluoride can be trapped. Only pure, filtered water can be retrieved from the other side.
This post was written by a water treatment expert at Pure Blue H2O. At Pure Blue H2O we are the providers of the best 3 stage reverse osmosis system! We know that the best product comes from the best materials. They offer whole home water solutions such as reverse osmosis systems, shower head filtration, filter replacements, and a variety of similar products. Their focus is to provide Americans with safe and clean water throughout the home.