Pros and Cons of Water With Added Fluoride

These days there is starting to be a lot of debate about something that used to be considered a good thing by most people — fluoridated water. Many communities are actually trying to repeal legislation that requires municipal water in their area to be fluoridated. Although the research isn’t 100 percent clear on the issue of fluoride in water, it’s important to consider the potential advantages and disadvantages of this type of regulation.

Original Intent

Some studies show that fluoride may help to strengthen the teeth and limit the number of cavities people get. However, these benefits were mainly shown for topical applications, not for ingesting fluoride. The idea was that by adding this mineral to water sources, everyone would get access to at least the minimum recommended amount of it and people who couldn’t afford proper dental care would get the most benefits. It has now come to the point where even some dentists and some members of the American Dental Association are starting to believe that the potential benefits don’t necessarily outweigh the potential risks.

Potential Risks

There is some evidence that ingesting large amounts of this mineral, such as can happen when someone lives out their life in an area with heavily fluoridated water, may increase the risk for certain types of cancers and can actually damage the teeth in some cases. It’s been linked to potential increases in stomach pain and indigestion as well as damage to connective tissue and joints. Keep in mind that people aren’t only getting this mineral from fluoridated water, but also from many foods and beverages (which are made or grown using fluoridated water), toothpaste and treatments provided by the dentist’s office. Since it is possible to get too much of this mineral and there are some potential risks, some people would prefer to have the choice, rather than be forced to have fluoridated water. It isn’t easy to remove this mineral from water, as most filters can’t accomplish this task. You need to treat the water using reverse osmosis or distillation to remove it. Even worse in the minds of some people is that the source of the mineral is sometimes industrial waste, which definitely doesn’t sound appealing.

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