Should I drink fluoridated tap water?

tap water

For decades, dentists and health organizations have advocated the fluoridation of public drinking water.  With tooth decay, a main contributor to oral diseases amongst low income families, this was thought to be a cost-effective treatment that could be widely distributed.  In fact, this idea that fluoride in drinking water is incredibly beneficial to your health may even be the deciding factor against purchasing an under sink water filter.  New research is emerging that not only claims fluoridated water has very little if anything to do with your oral health, but that adding fluoride to your water could in fact be detrimental to your overall health.

As of late, scientific researchers, nonprofit organizations, and medical journals seem to be coming out of the woodwork with a unified message to stop the addition of fluoride in unfiltered tap water.  We are in the midst of a heated debate, and a clear winner is yet to emerge.  However, here are some of the claims being made by these organizations.

The FDA and CDC can’t agree if fluoride is safe or not

The CDC is one of the biggest supporters of fluoride and its inclusion in public drinking water.  The problem is the FDA doesn’t seem to agree. If you read the back of most fluoride toothpaste tubes, you’ll find a warning stating that if consumption of more than what is typically used for brushing occurs, to immediately call poison control. In fact, the National Institute of health lists sodium fluoride as a “poisonous ingredient” (Get the facts here).

The amount of sodium fluoride found in a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is equivalent to what is found in one glass of drinking water.  Since drinking water is unregulated, the question arising more frequently is that if fluoride is considered poisonous in certain amounts, is it safe to consume in unregulated dosages?

It is unclear if fluoridated water prevents cavities or tooth decay

Newsweek reported in 2015 that fluoride in drinking water may have no impact on oral health. For the full article, click here. Many of the studies done supporting the effectiveness of this practice have been criticized for their lack of scientific methodology.

While the practice of topically applying fluoride to your teeth has been proven beneficial, the ingestion of fluoride has not. Supporters of fluoride treated drinking water often piggy back off the research done on topical applications to validate their support of a very different delivery mechanism.

Fluoridated water may negatively impact your health

As concern over the safety of fluoride ingestion grows, medical research is being conducted to determine how fluoride affects different systems in the body.  As this report shows, the results are alarming.

From I.Q. to endocrine systems, fluoride might be more harmful that we ever imagined.  Although studies are in the early stages and few direct correlations have been confirmed, there seems to be mounting evidence regarding fluoride harm and less evidence supporting fluoride benefits.

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