Flouride in Your Tap? Consider Getting a Reverse Osmosis System

Depending on where you grew up, drinking water fluoridation might have been a fact of life; or perhaps you didn't know your water was fluoridated until you moved to an area where it wasn't. Suddenly the dentist was offering your children fluoride treatments at every visit. Many people prefer to get their fluoride directly from tap water, but is that really the safest way to strengthen your teeth?

Each dentist or physician you meet might have a different opinion on the topic, but water fluoridation is a serious issue; especially if you have children. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of fluoridation, and decide for yourself if this is something you want in your drinking water.

A Reverse Osmosis System Helps You Choose Whether Flouridation is What You Want

Pros of Fluoridation

The concept of adding fluoride to drinking water dates back to the middle of the last century, when the American Dental Association and the AMA joined forces to proclaim fluoridation as a favorable and effective way to fight tooth decay and fight cavities. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control hailed fluoridation as one of the top ten health related achievements of the 20th century. The World Health Organization has noted that in larger cities, the benefits are greatest for the economically disadvantaged families who could otherwise not access proper dental care.

Cons of Fluoridation

As positive as it sounds, there are still quite a few opponents of fluoridating drinking water. They say too little is known about the long-term risks of ingesting fluoride and they point to studies that show a positive correlation between fluoridation programs and an increased risk for certain types of cancer. For people who have kidney disease, the widespread use of fluoride makes it difficult to avoid. Opponents are known for arguing that it's unethical to dose the entire population of a region with fluoride when the goal is to reach a smaller subset of the population. In other words, they're saying even underprivileged citizens should be able to opt in or out of the treatment without their consent.

How to Manage Your Fluoride Exposure

In most states, Americans still have fluoride in their drinking water. The more water you drink, the more fluoride you get. Personally, while I don't think cities should fluoridate every citizen, fluoride is not high on my list of things to worry about. I'm not going to change my habits to avoid it. However, if you want to reduce your exposure, you can install a reverse osmosis system installed in your Colorado Springs home. Another option is to have water deliverd to your home. Keep in mind that water pitcher filters, such as Pur and Brita, will not remove fluoride, but reverse osmosis and distillation will.

Many of the popular bottled water companies are using fluoridated water, and fluoride is naturally present in tea leaves as well. Drinking lots of black tea can be a significant source of fluoride exposure.

Lastly, if you live in an area without fluoridated water, you can still get the tooth-hardening benefits of fluoride by using fluoride toothpastes and fluoride rinses. Most dentists will also give you a topical fluoride treatment.

Denver Water changes fluoride concentration

In January 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency proposed changes to the guidelines on adding fluoride to drinking water. The agency lowered the recommended concentration of fluoride from a range of 0.7–1.2 mg/L to a flat 0.7 mg/L, representing the first change to HHS's position on fluoride in nearly 50 years.

In response to this measure, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), which has encouraged the fluoridation of water for many years, has allowed the state's water companies to change fluoridation levels accordingly. Denver Water announced an immediate change on January 7, 2011 with a new target fluoride concentration of 0.6-0.7 mg/L. To understand how infinitesimal this amount of fluoride really is, a milligram per liter is the equivalent of one part per million, or the same as one drop of water for every 55 gallons. The time equivalent would be one minute out of every two years.

According to the press release, "Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound in Denver Water's source water. It enters the water when fluoride-rich minerals in soils and rock dissolve. The natural background fluoride concentrations for Denver's source water typically ranges from 0.08 mg/L to 0.90 mg/L. The water treatment process removes a small amount of naturally occurring fluoride." This means that fluoride is only added at Denver Water's treatment plants when the concentration of it falls below levels recommended by the nation's public health agencies and the CDPHE.

But is Flouride in our water safe?

The American Academy of Family Physicians has issued the following policy statement: "Fluoridation of public water supplies is a safe, economical, and effective measure to prevent dental caries" (tooth decay).

Since 1950, the American Dental Association (ADA), along with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), has continuously and unreservedly endorsed the optimal fluoridation of community water supplies as a safe and effective public health measure for the prevention of dental decay.

The ADA's policy on fluoridation is based on its continuing evaluation of the scientific research on the safety and effectiveness of fluoride. It continues to reaffirm its position of support for water fluoridation and has strongly urged that its benefits be extended to communities served by public water systems.

Today, fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and to improve oral health over a lifetime.

History

The effect of fluoridation on the prevention of tooth decay was first identified in Colorado Springs in the early 1900s. High levels of natural fluoride caused discoloration of tooth enamel but prevented cavities.

Fluoride was first added to Denver's water in 1953, when Denver Water and the City of Denver's Department of Health and Hospitals entered into an agreement to fluoridate the water.

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