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411 on Fluoridated Water

Posted on May 19th, 2016 by

There is some concern floating around about fluoridated water. Opponents of fluoridated water claim that it has adverse health effects on communities. Anti-fluoridation advocates claim that fluoridation causes bone cancer or even dementia. Some say that water fluoridation is forced medication or that tooth decay is no longer a problem in the United States, so water fluoridation should be banned. Regardless of the argument, the overwhelming evidence on the topic shows that water fluoridation is not only safe, but incredibly effective in improving and maintaining the oral health of communities. Below is the 411 on fluoridated water—what you need to know and why.

What is Water Fluoridation?

Water fluoridation is the controlled addition of safe levels of fluoride into the drinking water supply of communities by government entities. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring element in most water sources. It is a substance that reduces tooth decay and strengthens tooth enamel. The fluoridation of water has expanded in the United States over the past couple of decades, with only positive results.

Why Are Some People Skeptical?

Ingesting too much fluoride can be harmful to people—much like ingesting too much of just about anything. Some opponents of water fluoridation suggest that fluoride is linked to health problems, that it is dangerous to our children, or that it should be a matter of personal choice whether we want fluoride in our drinking water. The truth is that levels of fluoride in our drinking water are perfectly safe and strictly regulated. Low levels of fluoride provide tremendous oral health benefit with no verified risks to people.

What Are the Benefits?

Fluoridation of our water supplies not only helps tooth decay in adults, but it is incredibly helpful in reducing tooth decay in children. Several studies nationwide have confirmed that communities with fluoridated water have significantly lower rates of tooth decay. It also saves money. By preventing tooth decay, water fluoridation helps save millions of dollars in dental treatment costs across the country. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Fluoridated water saved Colorado nearly $149 million in 2003 by avoiding unnecessary dental treatment costs.”
Water fluoridation is one of the most basic things a community can do to promote dental health among its people. Along with proper oral health education and the availability of dental care, our communities can continue to lower rates of tooth decay and dental health problems.
Courtesy of the Campaign for Dental Health

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