Today, there is a great deal of buzz surrounding the effects of fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that can be both naturally occurring but can also be added to your water source to enhance its properties. However, over time, there has been a certain degree of conversation and controversy concerning the effects of fluoride in your water. When attempting to understand the truth surrounding the fluoridation process, it is critical that you study the facts, perspectives, and the science behind the effects of fluoride in your water.
The History of Fluoridation
The history of fluoride began in the early 20th century when a pair of researchers began studying a community-wide dental issue spreading across the Colorado Springs area. Residents began to notice increasingly common brown stains on their teeth, and the cause of the condition was eventually discovered to be elements within or added to the local water source. But during their investigation, they also came across another ground-breaking conclusion.
While elements in the water were causing the resident’s teeth to stain, another ingredient in their water source was also causing the teeth to remain cavity free; fluoride. This conclusion led to years and years of further study on the nature of fluoride and its positive effects on dental health. These studies eventually evolved into the practice of fluoridation, the adding of fluoride to water sources to boost its effects.
In 1951, fluoridation was adopted as official policy by the U.S. Public Health Service, and by 1960, fluoride-treated water would reach approximately 50 million Americans.
However, more recently, further research has brought new facts about fluoride to light; bringing into questions its efficacy and safety. Many countries have recently decided to do away with the process of fluoridation, and the process has become increasingly rare across Europe. For some, the process of fluoridation has now been labeled as “mass medication,” arguing that the decision to utilize fluoride should be made at the individual level.
The Positive Effects of Fluoride
Of all its positive effects, fluoride in your water is first and foremost an effective way to boost your dental health; specifically the reduction of cavities. A cavity is formed when mouth bacteria decompose carbohydrates, producing in its place, acids that attack the enamel of the tooth. This process is known as demineralization. When the replacement of those minerals can no longer keep with the rate of demineralization, the result is a cavity.
Fluoride has been found to slow down the rate of demineralization while also potentially increasing the rate of remineralization and overall reducing bacterial activity in the mouth.
While not a direct health effect, the use of fluoride has increased the efficacy of dental health by generally reducing the cost of treatments and preventing the need for expensive procedures.
The Negative Effects of Fluoride
As more research has been conducted on the effects of fluoride as well as other common contaminants found in drinking water, we are beginning to see correlating adverse impacts that have arisen from the use of fluoridation. Exposure to high levels of fluoride can not only cause health defects, but they can also be toxic. High concentrations of the element can lead to both dental and skeletal fluorosis, conditions that can create discoloration of the teeth and weakness of the bones and joints. A recent study looked at the rate of bone fractures in Chinese populations and a link was found between high fracture rates and increased fluoridation.
Further, fluoride has been linked to thyroid issues, and In 2017, a new report found that exposure to fluoride before birth can lead to poorer cognitive outcomes during adolescent development. Further, organizations that actively campaign against the use of fluoride have suggested that the compound could lead to cardiovascular issues, reproductive issues, and acne.
Today, the World Health Organization has limited set a guideline limit of 1.5ppm fluoride, noting that any more could lead to health defects. The EPA has set its maximum allowable limit to 4ppm.
Further, research is beginning to show that the amount of fluoride naturally present in water may be more than enough to achieve health benefits, making the process of fluoridation redundant.
Fluoride: Good or Bad?
Unfortunately, we do not seem to be anywhere close to a consensus on the final verdict of fluoride. A strong case can be made both for the positive and the negative effects of fluoride. However, it is imperative that you do understand both perspectives and make an informed and intentional stance on fluoride.
We will be monitoring the developments on the efficacy and safety of fluoride in your water and will ensure that you are up to date and informed about the safety of your drinking water. The GOpure pod eliminates 97% of fluoride from tap water. Read more about our water purification capabilities.
Our water is our life; we must be intentional about what we put into it.