Is Fluoride in Drinking Water Good or Bad?

Posted on November 7, 2013
Magnifying glass over chemical element Fluorine

For several years, the topic of adding fluoride to municipal drinking water supplies has been largely controversial. There are many people who have long supported the potential health benefits of widespread fluoridation in public drinking water. While others have expressed their opposition to what they consider forced medication by the government, and some have even voiced their doubts about the health benefits of fluoridation in drinking water.

Due to the longstanding controversy, the Quench Water Experts are here to dish you everything you need to know about fluoride in your drinking water, including the facts, pros, and cons, so that you are informed and empowered to make your own conclusions!

The Facts About Fluoride in Drinking Water

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2/3 of Americans drink fluoride through public water. Public drinking water becomes fluoridated when the naturally occurring fluoride levels are adjusted with chemical fluoride to the optimal fluoride levels. Optimal levels are recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service to prevent tooth decay.

In 1962, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommended that public tap water contain between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter. But recently, the department changed its recommendation level to not exceed 0.7 milligrams per liter because many receive fluoride through toothpaste, mouthwash, and other products.

Studies have shown that fluoride prevents tooth decay. It bonds with teeth to make them more resistant to acid attacks from bacteria. Since January of 1945, when Grand Rapids, Michigan became the world’s first city to adjust the level of fluoride in its water supply, water fluoridation has been met with controversy.

Here are some of the pros and cons to adding fluoride to public drinking water sources:

The Pros of Fluoride in Drinking Water

  • Fluoride is endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the CDC as a safe and effective way to reduce cavities.
  • CDC lists it as one of the top 10 more important public health measures of the 20th Century.
  • Studies show that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25% over a person’s lifetime.
  • Having fluoride in public drinking water sources is the least expensive way to deliver the benefits to all residents of a community, regardless of age, income, education, or socioeconomic status.
  • For every $1 invested in water fluoridation, approximately $38 is saved in dental treatment costs.
  • Greatest benefits are obtained by children who drink fluoridated water since birth; teeth made stronger during childhood would remain permanently resistant to decay.

The Cons of Fluoride in Drinking Water

  • Many feel it is an unethical form of mass-medication as individuals do not give consent.
  • Fluoride dosage cannot be controlled, meaning that people who drink more water ingest more fluoride.
  • Excess fluoride exposure can lead to dental fluorosis, which creates white streaks or brown stains on teeth, creates pits in teeth or even break the enamel of the teeth.
  • Research has shown that fluoride works best when it is applied topically, not ingested.
  • Multiple studies have shown there is no significant link between fluoride exposure and tooth decay.
  • Most developed nations, including Japan and 97% of western Europe, do not fluoridate their water.
  • Studies have shown that even low levels of fluoride have been linked to negative health effects, like bone fractures, thyroid disorders, and impaired brain development and function.

The Quench Solution

Whether fluoride in water is good or bad is up to you! If you feel fluoride in water is good, Quench's standard 5-stage carbon filtration will not remove fluoride from drinking water, although it does remove sediment, chemicals, odors, and off-tastes. But if you feel fluoride in water is bad, we also have you covered – reverse osmosis filtration will remove fluoride from your workplace drinking water, as well as a variety of contaminants.

To learn more about the state-of-the-art filtration and purification technologies used in our Quench bottle-free water coolers, click here. And to see which Quench bottle-free water cooler is best for your workplace, use our Product Finder.

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