Water Fluoridation is the topic of some pretty big controversy right now. People are concerned about the effects it has on their children’s mental health as well as their physical health.
What is Water Fluoridation?
Water Fluoridation is adding the chemical fluoride to public water supplies. The purpose of this would be to reduce the occurrence of cavities. Almost 2/3rds of public drinking water in the U.S. is fluoridated according to the CDC. But the question still remains what is Floride?
Floride is a compound that comes from the element fluorine. Fluorine is one of the most highly reactive elements in the Halogen family and exists as a highly toxic yellow diatomic (two atoms) gas, under standard conditions (cue scary music here). BUT, something you should know is that Fluorine is something that does not occur in standard form in nature very often, if at all. Fluorine is widely dispersed in nature, almost entirely in the form of Fluorides which are anions. These Fluorides can be found naturally in minerals throughout the earth’s crust. FLUORIDE IS NATURALLY PRESENT IN LOW CONCENTRATIONS IN MOST FRESHWATER AND SALTWATER SOURCES. So Flouride is very natural
The goal of fluoridation os to prevent tooth decay by adjusting the concentration of fluoride in public waters. Tooth decay is one of the most prominent chronic diseases worldwide. Although it is rarely life-threatening, tooth decay can cause extreme discomfort and issues eating, speaking, and it can affect facial appearances. It became standard practice to add fluoride to water in the United States in 1951. What I can clearly tell you is that Fluoride does, indeed, help with overall dental health. But what about the rest of my body? And what’s all the controversy about?
Affects of Fluoridation
Cons of Fluoridation
As I stated earlier, Fluoride naturally occurs in fresh water and salt water in small amounts. But when we add Fluoride to the water and increase the level it can affect our bodies in different ways. One of the biggest controversies is that there have been quite a few studies that link Fluoridation to developmental problems in children’s brains. They claim that areas with a larger amount of fluoridation can cause larger amounts of delinquencies in children’s development and learning. Another Controversy is that Fluoride supplements have never been approved by the FDA. But to that argument, I say that a lot of supplements have not been approved by the FDA but we still consume them (check your vitamin bottles). Another argument that can be made is that fluoride does not have to be consumed to help with your teeth. I still recall when I was in 3-5th grade we have to do a fluoride rinse every night because we weren’t getting enough of it. But we never took it like medicine, we just swirled it in our mouth like mouthwash.
Pros of Fluoridation
Fluoridation helps prevent cavities. This is one of the biggest benefits of fluoridation because the costs of fluoridating the water are less than $1.00 annually per person and the cost of filling a cavity is much greater than that.
Let’s be honest, there really aren’t any other benefits. Fluoride is not a mineral that really affects you if you don’t take it. There are no deficiency issues with fluoride. HOWEVER, If done correctly and in adequate doses, fluoride is not harmful at all.
There are quite a few more cons than pros, but when you weight them against each other make sure that you are educated on both sides of the argument. Stand up for what you think is right. If I had a choice, I would probably drink the fluoridated water. But I just drink the water here at Water Billboards. We don’t have fluoride in our water, but I’ve still never had a cavity 😉
- EPA: Basic Information about Fluoride in Drinking Water
- Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards
- Scientific American: Second Thoughts About Fluoride
- NIH: Confirmation of and explanations for elevated blood lead and other disorders in children exposed to water disinfection and fluoridation chemicals
- Recommendations for using fluoride to prevent and control dental caries in the United States