There is widespread debate about the addition of fluoride to drinking water, and this debate has been going on for years. Many experts say that the fluoride provides as much as a twenty five percent reduction in tooth decay every year, but others say that fluoride can lead to unknown health risks and should not be ingested in large quantities. The effects of fluoride are still hotly contested to this day, although the federal government lends full support to fluoridating water supplies.
But there is a growing trend in many communities nationwide. Some cities and towns are choosing to stop fluoridating their waters. Cities and towns are claiming that they’ve changed their tunes due to a combination of both tighter budgets and a change of heart about the supposed benefits of a fluoridated water system.
Places like Fairbanks, Alaska are finding after consultations with a panel of scientists, doctors, and dentists that their town already contains high levels of naturally occurring fluoride. By adding fluoride to the water the town is getting an extra dose of the chemical which can be harmful to citizens. Many politicians in other towns are opposing the addition of fluoride based on moral reasons, citing that forcing medical treatment on citizens is unethical.
Researchers estimate that because of the Unite States Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that as much as seventy two percent of the American population drinks fluoridated water. These government agencies maintain that fluoridated drinking water is an important part of keeping cavities low in America, especially as more and more people stop being able to afford dental care.
But those who are against the fluoride cite a recent study that claims many children are suffering from flourosis. The study showed that there was an increase in the condition flourosis in recent years, which present as yellow and white spots on the teeth. People who want to keep fluoridated water argue that flourosis is merely a cosmetic problem, but others say that it is a sign of something much more serious.
Many dentists and physicians have claimed that the teeth are our key to looking at internal bones without x-rays. If something is happening to the teeth, it may often be a sign of a more serious problem among all the bones in the person’s body. These critics claim that flourosis in the teeth could be a sign that the bones underneath the skin are becoming dangerously overflouridated. When this happens patients can experience bone fractures and increased pain and tenderness.
This has scared many into thinking that fluoridated water is entirely unsafe, but the government maintains that it is perfectly safe, it just needs to be reduced. Scientists believe that some of the reason for the increase in flourosis has to do with the fact that many people are also getting fluoride from other sources, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as beverages purchased from the store that were made with tap water. The government has subsequently recommended that the amount of fluoride added to the water be reduced.
There is also a known risk of using fluoridated water in infant formula. Many parents use fluoridated water to make the formula for their infants which can quickly lead to flourosis in infants since most infants on formula use formula for most of their nutrition. Plus many dentists, scientists, and doctors agree that fluoridated water does not produce the effects that the government is trying to achieve. They claim that fluoride must be applied directly to the teeth, as when brushing, to achieve the health benefits they are hoping for. And lastly critics are upset at the way the fluoride is distributed because they cannot measure individual need by putting fluoride in tap water. Many people who need a lot of fluoride may consume no tap water, and others who already get a lot of fluoride through their toothpaste or mouthwash may drink a lot of tap water. This leads to over and under dosing which can do more harm than good.
Luckily however local dentists like Dr. James A. Wells of South Charlotte Dentistry can tell you if you have a condition like flourosis, and will be able to tell you if you need to reduce the amount of fluoride you ingest. If you are concerned about the health of your teeth due to over or under use of fluoride please visit our contact us page or call 704-759-0908!