Most of us immediately relate fluoride to toothpaste. However, for many cities in the U.S., and around the world, there is fluoride in the drinking water. Public water fluoridation was first practiced in 1945 and has been the center of controversy ever since. If you would like to read an objective description of this controversy, Water Fluoridation Controversy on Wikipedia is a good source.
What is Fluoride?
According to Livescience.com Fluoride is an ionic compound derived from fluorine, which is the single most reactive element; it is naturally found in many rocks. About 95 percent of the fluoride added to public water supplies is produced from phosphorite rock, according to the CDC.
What is Water Fluoridation?
Water fluoridation is the process of adding fluoride to the water supply so the level reaches approximately 0.7 ppm, or 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water (recently reduced from 1 ppm); this is considered the optimal level for preventing tooth decay.
In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, adjusted the fluoride content of its water supply to 1.0 ppm and thus became the first city to implement community water fluoridation.
Proponents – Their Why
According to the American Dental Association website, “More than 70 years of scientific research has consistently shown that an optimal level of fluoride in community water is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay by at least 25% in both children and adults. Simply by drinking water, Americans can benefit from fluoride’s cavity protection whether they are at home, work or school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”
Opponents – Their Why Not
Opponents will claim water fluoridation is unsafe for consumption for many reasons such as: the dose cannot be controlled, fluoride goes to all regardless of age, health, or vulnerability, etc. Other reasons include fluoridation is expensive for cities, and it is unethical as it violates individual rights (choice). At www.fluoridealert.org , there are several reasons provided.
In the End
With any controversy, you will find information to support both sides. In the end, it comes down to a personal decision. We all have to make our own choice based on fact or personal values.
Because we are a water conditioning company, our values, we admit, will be a bit biased. If you like fluoride in your water, then it will more than likely come with other contaminants in your water supply. We prefer our clients to have the safest water possible through filtration and/or purification. Fluoride can be found in many other applications that can be helpful in fighting tooth decay (toothpaste, rinses, dental treatments, etc.) and does not need to be consumed into the body. Proper oral care will be much more effective in keeping healthy teeth than your water.