What Is Fluoride And Why Is It In Our Drinking Water?
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in the Earth’s crust and widely distributed in nature. Some foods and water supplies contain fluoride. Fluoride is often added to drinking water to help reduce tooth decay. The practice began in the United States in the 1940s and has since become widespread in many countries (source). It’s the very heart of the matter, and, truth be told, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Benefits of Fluoride in Drinking Water
Most importantly, fluoride in drinking water helps reduce the prevalence of cavities. Several studies, including ones by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggest that fluoride can decrease the rate of tooth decay by 25%. Consequently, it helps save money on dental treatments, making oral health affordable for all sections of the society.
How Is Fluoride Added to Drinking Water?
Water authorities add fluoride to the water supply in carefully controlled amounts. This is referred to as ‘water fluoridation’. To ensure safety and effectiveness, the recommended level is maintained at around 0.7 parts per million (source). It’s a simple, safe, and efficient way to provide the benefits of fluoride to everyone.
Fluoride Safety and Health Concerns
Fluoride is generally safe for use. However, excessive exposure may lead to a condition called dental fluorosis, which can cause slight discoloration to the teeth. In most cases, fluorosis is mild and barely noticeable. Serious health problems are typically associated with much higher levels of fluoride exposure, which are unlikely from drinking fluoridated water (source).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much fluoride is in my drinking water?
The exact amount can vary, but in fluoridated communities, the level is typically maintained at around 0.7 parts per million. You can contact your local water provider to find out the specific level in your area.
2. Is fluoride in drinking water safe?
Yes, fluoride is safe at the levels used in fluoridated drinking water. The World Health Organization and other health bodies have affirmed its safety and effectiveness.
3. Does fluoride in drinking water cause fluorosis?
Excessive fluoride exposure can cause fluorosis, but this is typically mild and not a health concern. The levels of fluoride used in drinking water are not typically associated with severe forms of fluorosis.
In conclusion, fluoride plays an integral role in maintaining oral health. It is scientifically proven and generally recognized as safe and effective in preventing tooth decay. Thus, it’s not just another chemical but an essential public health intervention for improving dental health.
Remember to consult with a dental or health professional if you have any specific concerns about fluoride in your drinking water.