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Fluoridated water has actually been the center of debate between many researchers, government agencies, and dental and medical professionals for a number of years. The United States government estimates that approximately 60% of the population living where there is a source of public water supply are getting fluoridated water.
Public water is fluoridated at a rate of 1 part fluoride to 1 million parts water. Up until the 1990s, most dental experts and pediatricians agreed that drinking fluoridated water was a good idea because it helped prevent tooth decay.
In the mid-1990s, researchers began studying the effects of ingesting fluoridated water and the possible link between fluoride and cancer. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a report in 1999 that concluded there was no connection between fluoridated water and an increase in the risk of developing cancer. Thus, proponents for fluoridated water still believe that it is a good idea because there are no harmful health effects yet proven and the benefits of fluoride to healthy teeth have been proven over and over.
Still, many feel that fluoridated water in the public water supply is the same as forcing a chemical on individuals who might not otherwise choose to consume it. Though some countries have ceased the use of fluoride in their water supply, the United States is not one of them. The majority of people in the US have access to fluoridated water, but people who use wells rather than public water do not receive fluoridated water, though well water may contain trace amounts of fluoride naturally.
For consumers who choose to drink fluoridated water but prefer bottled water, there are some bottling companies who add fluoride to their water. Even if people don’t drink their tap water and don’t buy bottled fluoridated water, they still consume public water when it is used for cooking. Further, brushing at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride provides adequate care of teeth.
While fluoridated water may not be considered a good idea by all, it is hardly a significant enough source of “bad” to worry about. Either way, most dental experts agree that proper oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, is the most important factor in preventing tooth decay. Children old enough to brush on their own will receive enough fluoride if they use toothpaste containing it. If you are concerned about a lack of fluoride in your water, you can talk to your dentist about fluoride treatments.
My, I was not aware of this fluoridated water controversy. It would seem logical to stop adding it to the water. Since toothpaste has fluoride in it, isn't that sufficient for healthy teeth? It seems that fluoride works best when applied directly to the teeth anyway.
There are some serious allegations attributed to too much fluoride, such as bone cancer, lower IQ, and osteoporosis. Hopefully some additional research findings will settle this issue one way or another.