Flouride in Drinking Water
Mineral blocks

Flouride in Drinking Water

Some bottled waters contain fluoride, some don’t. This is where you have to read the label and look so you understand and you can make the important decision about fluoride in drinking water.

What we will cover in this blog?

In this blog, we will learn about the most abundant mineral, fluoride, and whether water flouridation can be beneficial or not.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride as we know is nature’s cavity fighter. It reduces tooth decay by up to 25% so drinking bottled water with fluoride in it helps keep you and your teeth very safe and happy. Fluoride is natural. It’s a fact that fluoride is naturally present in soil, rivers, lakes and even ocean.

What is Water Fluoridation?

Water fluoridation is the addition of fluoride up to the recommended level to prevent tooth decay. It’s similar to fortifying other foods and beverages like fortifying salts with iodine, milk with vitamin D, orange juice with calcium and bread with folic acid.

Why is water fluoridation a good thing?

Water fluoridation is considered one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. In fact, over 100 National Health organizations recognize the public health benefits of fluoride in our drinking water.

In a 15 year landmark study from Grand Rapids, Michigan, children who received fluoridated water from birth had 50 – 63% less tooth decay than children from a nearby city in Michigan who drank non-fluoridated water.

When can fluoridation be a bad thing?

Higher concentrations of fluoride can cause pitting in teeth, decay and major health problems. Anything over 1.5 ppm can cause tooth decay, and 3 to 6 ppm can cause skeletal problems. Although there are some Chinese studies correlating high fluoride with IQ problems, no US city is even close to the 4 ppm EPA limit.

There is one problem that can result from too much fluoride – dental fluorosis. This is a discoloration of the teeth that can occur when a child ingests more fluoride than is recommended. With mild dental fluorisis, the teeth get white flecks or spots, but with severe fluorisis the teeth can get a permanent brown stain.

However the big cause of fluorisis is the kids swallowing the tooth paste. That’s why the American Dental Association recommends that children under six do not use more than a pea-sized amount of tooth paste.

What is the right amount of fluoride?

In the right concentration i.e. 0.8 to 1.2 parts per million, Fluoride reduces tooth enamel solubility during its formation, helping it solidify and form teeth that are more resistant to bacterial attack. After the enamel is formed, fluoride helps prevent bacteria from producing acid that causes tooth decay.In the right concentration i.e. 0.8 to 1.2 parts per million, Fluoride reduces tooth enamel solubility during its formation, helping it solidify and form teeth that are more resistant to bacterial attack. After the enamel is formed, fluoride helps prevent bacteria from producing acid that causes tooth decay.In the right concentration i.e. 0.8 to 1.2 parts per million, Fluoride reduces tooth enamel solubility during its formation, helping it solidify and form teeth that are more resistant to bacterial attack. After the enamel is formed, fluoride helps prevent bacteria from producing acid that causes tooth decay.

Is water fluoridation necessary?

Today, fluoride is consumed in countless common dental products, among other things, so water fluoridation isn’t typically needed anymore to achieve the recommended daily amounts. Currently, with the advent of modern dentistry and fluoride put in many products used regularly by most people anyway, like toothpaste, the question of whether governments should continue water fluoridation is a good one.

What is Fluoride contamination?

As water seeps through the earth, it dissolves many substances some of which can be harmful to human health. Take for example, fluoride contamination of ground water. When water seeps through rocks that are rich fluoride compound, it dissolves some of its compounds and the concentration of fluoride in the water increases. A little bit of fluoride in water is good for teeth but long term of ingestion of water with fluoride content greater than 1.5mg per liter can cause a condition called fluorisis, as discussed above.

A chemical plant releasing smoke

What causes fluoride contamination of ground water?

Most of the fluoride found in ground water is naturally occurring due to weathering of rocks. Other sources include:

  • Volcanic ash:

The fluoride content in volcanic ash is very high and when this ash interacts with ground water, it causes contamination.

  • Fly Ash:

The burning of coal is yet another factor which contributes to the fluoridation of ground water. However, it does depend on the type of coal being burned. Inappropriate disposal of fly ash causes the leaching of fluoride to ground water.

  • Fertilizers:

The use of fertilizers in agriculture also causes fluoride to seep down to the ground water.

Besides these there are several other factors which contribute to the fluoride contamination of ground water.

Scientists at work

What are other sources of fluoride?

Fluoride is found almost everywhere, including in our food. For example, when you consume 100 grams of seedless raisins, you get about 0.23mg of fluoride, the same amount brewed tea gives you about 0.37mg, and cooked crustaceans, like crab and shrimp, 0.16mg.

CONCLUSION

Whether its cool to add fluoride to the water is still a political and social point of contention. From a health care prospective, if we want our teeth to last, we’ve gotta keep the enamel free of harmful bacterial deposits – which fluoride does. Enamel, the outer most layer of the tooth, is the toughest stuff the body can make, but it can’t repair itself. It needs help. And if you ask us, the best approach would be simply to brush your teeth after every meal and ensure adequate fluoride intake.

Leave a Reply