Though previous studies have touted the positive attributes to the addition of fluoride to our water—such as its inclusion of whitening agents and the reduction of tooth decay—a 2019 study is the first to suggest otherwise. This most recent finding indicates some possible dangers to fluoride, especially in adolescents.
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine cited a study done in 2019 that had some troubling findings. According to the study, “exposure to fluoride may contribute to complex changes in kidney and liver function among youth in the United States, where 74 percent of public water systems add fluoride for dental health benefits.” This is big news, considering just about every one of us is exposed to fluoride through our tap water.
It’s important to note who this seems to affect the most: adolescents. Why this group over any other? Well, the kidneys accumulate most of the fluoride we put into our bodies. What we have found is an adolescent’s body actually only excretes 45 percent of fluoride through the kidneys, whereas an adult secretes fluoride at a rate of 60 percent, meaning adults can likely pass the chemical without any negative side effects.
This research also indicates that “adolescents with poorer kidney or liver function may absorb more fluoride in their bodies.” With potential side effects like renal system damage, thyroid dysfunction, liver damage, tooth disease, and impaired protein metabolism, people—particularly those with children—are beginning to seriously question if our water is safe.
Sure, we all grew up feeling just fine and we drank right from the faucet. But, there are those who feel the risk isn’t worth ignoring. So what can be done? Plenty, actually.
The Berkey Water Filtration System
Just because your fridge may filter your water, or you have a separate water container with a built-in filter, fluoride is still most likely in your water. It’s tough to get out, and filters can be anywhere from $30 to $300.
One option, though it will cost a bit more upfront, is the Berkey Water Filtration System. These systems range in price from $250 to around $700, but they provide gallons of crystal-clear, and fluoride-free, water.
They usually come in two stackable metal cylinders. The top is filled with water and gravity pulls the water through the four filters. And these heavy-duty filters only need to be changed every few years—if even then. These are perfect for big families. Everyone gets a water bottle and keeps it filled. This is also a great way to cut back on your plastic use, and it only takes a year or so (depending on how much water you typically buy) to pay for your new water system. Then it’s free, freshwater for everyone.
But, if you’re not feeling up to spending a few hundred for a new water filtration system, there are other, less expensive, options. Check these two out:
- Priced at $70, the Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher cleans fluoride, Lead, Chloramine, and Chromium-6 from your water. The pitcher is BPA free and easily fits into the fridge.
- You can also go smaller with a $35 water bottle that has a fluoride filter attached. The Seychelle Extreme Water Filter Bottle is great for camping, travel, hiking, or backpacking, and it removes bacteria, viruses, radiological contaminants, and fluoride. It holds 28 ounces of water.
Fluoride-Free Bottled Water
Even if you don’t feel up to buying special water filtration systems, there are plenty of bottled waters out there for purchase that are fluoride-free. Here is a list of some of the most popular ones:
- Arbor Springs Drinking Water
- Arbor Springs Purified Water
- Arbor Springs Spring Water
- Deer Park
- Diamond Spring Water
- Fresh Market
- Glacier Bay
- Hidden Valley Natural Mineral Water
- Nestle Pure Life
- Oasis Pure Drinking Water
- Oasis Sparkling Water
- Poland Spring
Until more studies come out that can provide more information on the possible dangers of consuming fluoride in adolescents, it is important not to panic. There are plenty of options to keep your little ones fluoride-free, and you don’t have to break the bank to do it.
As always, at South Charlotte Dentistry, we care most about your health. If you have concerns for your children, or would like to know more about the effects of fluoride, stop in and see us. We are always happy to help.