Fluoridated water – Healthy or Harmful
People have long been arguing about the benefits of adding fluoride to municipal drinking supplies. Some argue that supplemental fluoride reduces tooth decay or cavities and improves dental health while the opponents say that it is harmful to our health and well being.
In this blog, we’re not taking sides, but simply providing you with general information about water fluoridation.
What is fluoride and how does it work?
Fluoride is a chemical that is mostly found in toothpaste and in some places, it is also found in drinking water just like chlorine. People prefer using fluoridated toothpaste as it is said to strengthen teeth, prevent cavities and tooth decay.
When we consume carbohydrates, it encourages the growth of bacteria in our mouths which produce acidic substances. The acid from these bacteria drains away minerals from our teeth, making them feeble and prone to decay and cavities. Fluoride interferes with the process of tooth decay by re-mineralizing tooth enamel, repairing the damage done by these bacteria, thereby preventing the formation of cavities or tooth decay.
Fluoride content in water
Water suppliers add small amounts of fluoride compound to the water at an accurate level. It is impossible to determine the concentration of fluoride content in water and even more difficult to say if there is any fluoride content in water as the chemical does not in any way change the smell, appearance or taste of the water. The only way to conclude that there is some amount of fluoride mixed in water is by testing the drinking water.
Studies have shown that fluoride in drinking water is beneficial and that a small amount in the water helps children have healthy teeth. Years of past evidence shows that communities with fluoridated water consumption have less tooth decay cases.
Reasons why Fluoride is good
- Prevents tooth decay.
- Safe and effective when consumed within limits.
- Saves dental treatment cost.
- A very small amount of fluoride is naturally available in water
But then, why are there are some people that say fluoride is bad for consumption? The answer to this depends on the amount of consumption
Do we consume too much?
Excessive consumption of fluoride can be harmful and there is no doubt about it. Various health organizations and environmentalists recommend that water suppliers or municipalities maintain a level of fluoride in the water of no more than 0.7 milligrams per liter. Furthermore, fluoride toothpaste in some countries carry a warning message not to ingest, with instructions to contact emergency in case of ingestion.
In addition to drinking water and toothpaste, many foods and beverages are made with fluoridated water, the mouthwashes we use on a daily basis contain fluoride, and sometimes our dental treatments also include the use of fluoride. Additionally, some health supplements and multi-vitamins even contain it. As a result, consumption may exceed the normal consumption level and cause harm to our health.
Why is excessive consumption a problem?
Consuming excessive amounts of fluoride may affect your thyroid, weaken your bones, cause disorders in the brain, impair kidney function, irritate gastrointestinal issues, and, in extreme circumstances, lead to seizures of toxicity, respiratory paralysis or even death.
If you decide that you need to do something to reduce your family’s consumption of fluoride, you may want to filter out the fluoride content in water, but you cannot remove fluoride by boiling your water, as it does not evaporate like chlorine. There are the two recommended methods you may want to consider to remove fluoride from your drinking water at home, they are distillation and reverse osmosis.
In conclusion, fluoride, that’s been added to water supply or the fluoride in your toothpaste is of low concentration and it’s not dangerous and can offer great benefits to dental health. On the other hand, excessive consumption of the same can cause harm to your health.