Fluoride occurs naturally in most water, but not at high enough levels to prevent tooth decay. That is why it is often added to municipal water systems. In fact, three out of four Americans currently drink fluoridated water.
Its use appears to have improved dental health immeasurably. Yet, recent research has begun casting doubt on the correlation between fluoride and better dental health. Even more disturbing is evidence showing fluoride may damage our bones and lead to neurological deficits.
At this point, you are probably wondering how much fluoride is in your own drinking water. Are excessive levels hurting your health and that of your family?
Adding fluoride to drinking water began in 1945 but wasn’t recommended as an overall health policy until the 1960s. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets fluoridation levels.
The maximum amount of fluoride that can be added is 4.0 mg/L. This is an enforceable upper limit. However, EPA recommends adding no more than 2.0 mg/L to drinking water.
They view the upper level as safe for the majority of the population, even with long-term use. But, the lower level takes into account the health concerns of children, especially those eight years old and younger.
In the next section, let’s look at why children might be hurt by higher levels of fluoride. We’ll also see how its use over many years can affect adult health.
Very high levels of fluoride over a long period of time can lead to fluorosis. This is especially problematic in children.
It causes changes to tooth enamel. Some of these changes are barely noticeable white spots, whereas other children develop pitting.
Fluoride also affects bone health. Adults who have been exposed to it over many years have weakened bones. They become more prone to fractures.
Finally, fluoride has an effect on brain health. Studies have shown its negative effect on memory, cognition, and learning.
Obtaining water quality may help you promote good health for yourself and your family members.
If you think you may have fluoride in your water, contact us today. As professionals, we can help you in making the right decision to improve your water.