If you’re drinking from a municipal source of water in the US, such as your tap water, then chances are that it contains trace amounts of the mineral fluoride. There has been continued debate about this, with some saying it is good for our health while others have concerns about potential side effects. Read on for more information about the addition of fluoride to the US water supply.
Why is fluoride in our water?
Fluoride is a mineral that can be found naturally in some water supplies, while other countries and areas add this mineral to their water supply to aid the health of local residents. Fluoride has been added to municipal water supplies in many parts of the US since the 1940s.
What are the benefits of fluoride in water?
The main benefits of fluoride relate to the health of our teeth. It is commonly added to toothpaste and other oral hygiene products as a result. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel on your teeth, prevent harmful bacteria from building up in your mouth, prevent cavities and tooth decay, and even reverse some signs of tooth decay.
Adding trace amounts of fluoride to local water supplies is a good way to ensure that everyone can benefit from the effects of fluoride on their oral health simply by drinking water. And research has found that fluoridated water supplies help to reduce the occurrence of tooth decay in both children and adults by up to 25%.
Are there any side effects from fluoride?
So why are there concerns about fluoridated water in the US? Fluoride does have potential side effects, but these only occur when the mineral is consumed in excessive amounts. The levels of fluoride in water are governed to ensure that it contains no more than 0.7 parts per million.
When consumed in excess, fluorosis can occur. This typically only affects children as it impacts the teeth while they are still growing beneath the gums, causing white spots to appear on the teeth. Since the levels of fluoride in water are low, dental fluorosis is more likely to occur due to children swallowing toothpaste that contains fluoride. Long-term exposure to high levels of fluoride can also cause skeletal fluorosis, which can cause stiffness and pain in the joints.
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