Fluoride has been added to water supplies in many developed countries for a number of years since it was first artificially introduced to water systems in the United States in 1946. There is little debate about the effectiveness of fluoride in reducing the number of dental cavities. In fact, the American Dental Association is just one of many bodies that support the continued use of fluoride in water.
Nevertheless, there are some arguments against the artificial use of fluorides. In this article, we will look at both sides of the argument. If you are one of the people who are uncomfortable with the amount of fluoride in their water, we shall also look at some ways to reduce it.
How Fluoride In Water Helps Reduce Cavities
There are a few ways that fluoride helps with controlling dental cavities. Firstly, fluoride has anticariogenic and antimicrobial properties. To put it in a nutshell, the antibacterial nature of fluoride allows for the formation of hydrogen ions. These ions, with the assistance of fluoride ions, lessen the production of bacterial enzymes, which reduces the effects of bacteria in the mouth.
Fluoride also lessens pH in the mouth. Bacteria need a certain level of pH to function properly. Since bacteria have to work harder to increase the level of pH, it leaves them with less energy to cause damage.
More Advantages Of Adding Fluoride To Water
Even if there are disadvantages to fluoride, there is no reason to hide the fact that there are benefits. For example, an Australian study published in 2013 found evidence that fluoride in water can help to prevent tooth decay in adults of all ages, no matter whether they grew up with fluoridated water or not. Additionally, fluoride can also repair teeth that are in the early stages of decay, even before the decay itself is noticeable.
Another advantage is that fluoride saves money. Dental care is expensive, so anything that lessens the amount of work needed to be done by dentists is good (maybe not for dentists).
Finally, and this is where the problem lies for some, it is considered safe. But how much is safe and is there a level of fluoride that makes it dangerous?
Water Fluoridation - How Much Is Too Much?
Before we begin, it should be noted that the arguments against fluoride may best be described as debatable. The evidence of the disadvantages listed below is not 100 percent solid. However, it is important to know that the possibilities of having too much fluoride do exist and that there are ways to reduce the amount of fluoride in the body.
It should also be noted that a lot of the arguments put forward against water fluoridation are not medical but ethical. The argument whether fluoride is good for health or not is not the point. What is important to people is that they should be able to opt out of fluoridation if they feel like it and not be forced to have it in their water either way.
One of the most commonly cited side effects of too much fluoride is dental fluorosis. The health of the teeth is not affected by dental fluorosis but streaks or flecks in the enamel of the teeth may lead to discoloration. Skeletal fluorosis is another result of too much fluoride. This can lead to pain in the joints, which is often mistaken for arthritis.
Other possible effects of too much fluoride in the diet are thyroid problems, leading to damage to the parathyroid gland. This can lead to increased calcium blood levels and not enough calcium in the bones, which can cause fractures. Finally, fluoride is a neurotoxin which can affect the nervous system. It has been shown that higher rates of neurotoxins can lead to lower IQs.
How To Lower The Amount Of Fluoride In Your Water
So, if you worry about the amount of fluoride in your water and would like to do something about it, what can you do?
There are a few different filtration systems you can use. The first is reverse osmosis (RO). Reverse osmosis systems work under the sink and only filter the water for one tap. They have been shown to extract up to 96% of fluoride in water. However, one important point is that it is crucial to maintain these systems properly, otherwise membrane scaling can occur.
There are also whole house systems, but they are a lot more complex. Basically, you would have to go for a whole house reverse osmosis system or a system using activated alumina media. There are pros and cons to both these methods so you will definitely need to do your research if you want to go down this route.
Finally, there are far less complex systems, you can use, including something as simple as a filter pitcher. There are also countertop kits, distillers, water bottles and even shower filters.
If you would like to know more, check out these ideas for top fluoride filters. I am sure there is something that will suit your needs.
What NOT To Do To Lower Fluoride In Your Water
Finally, it would be useful to know what does not remove fluoride from drinking water. Filters such as Brita and PUR won't do any good. You may be surprised to hear that some people think that water softeners will do the trick. They do not.
Boiling water won't do any good either. Fluoride does not evaporate easily. And there is no way you can just avoid fluoride naturally. All water contains fluoride whether it is artificially added or not.
We've learned that there are benefits of water fluoridation, such as the reduction of dental cavities. But there are levels were too much fluoride can be harmful. Possible health impacts include dental fluorosis, thyroid problems and bone weakening. Lastly, if you are not comfortable with the fluoride in your water, you can use one of the filtration systems to have it removed.