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Fluoride In Drinking Water: The Pros And Cons

For many years there has been a debate about whether or not chemical fluoride should be added to public water sources. Despite the fact that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, some have reservations about whether or not the benefits of its chemical counterpart are worth any possible side effects. Let’s explore the pros and cons of having chemical fluoride in public water:

PROS

Strong Teeth

The most commonly known benefit of fluoride in water is that it prevents cavities and tooth decay. Whether chemical or naturally occurring, fluoride protects teeth from the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth. That’s why it’s also added to toothpaste!

Cost Effective

When fluoride is added to public drinking water, it’s accessible to all, even those who may live in underserved communities. It’s not only cost effective for individual families but also for the healthcare system as a whole.

Natural Mineral

Although it has a chemical counterpart, fluoride is naturally found in water and in certain foods. Fluoridation merely increases the natural content of the water to a safe, drinkable level that also renders more benefits.

CONS

Dental Fluorosis

If there is too much fluoride in water, over drinking can lead to dental fluorosis. This breakdown of the teeth can appear as white streaks, chalky spots, brown stains. Dental Fluorosis is most common in children whose teeth are still developing.

Lack of Consent

Some disagree with public water fluoridation because they reason that, because not every person can give explicit consent, it is unethical. It is also a concern that the amount of fluoride a person drinks can’t be managed; if someone drinks more water, they automatically drink more fluoride – which could be harmful.

High Dose Toxicity
Although rare and usually caused by an accident, high levels of fluoridation can cause serious side effects like diarrhea, vomiting, periostitis and in extremely rare cases, death. 5mg is the estimated dose that can result in toxicity.