The short answer is yes, but it is possible to ingest too much fluoride and that can be bad for your health. Fluoride has been added to our public water since 1945 and many municipalities still add it to water to this day. The CDC has stated that the risk of tooth decay can be reduced by around 25% in adults and children when fluoride is added to public water. Many people invest in a home water filtration system to remove contaminants and they wonder how this affects the concentration of fluoride. In this article, we will take a look at reverse osmosis or RO filtration systems and fluoride to help you make an informed decision for your home.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in soil, plants, rocks, water and it’s even present in our air! We also have fluoride in your bones and teeth and it’s regarded as beneficial for good oral health because it strengthens enamel to prevent cavities. Fluoride is also used in many other ways, including: cleaning agents, medical imaging, pesticides, the formation of Teflon, steel production, aluminum formation and more. In both the U.S. and the U.K. public drinking water tends to contain a fluoride concentration of 0.7 ppm or parts per million. But, many countries do not add fluoride to drinking water supplies due to health concerns that we will address next.
What Health Problems are Caused by a High Intake of Fluoride?
There are two main potential health problems caused by ingesting high concentrations of fluoride, they are: dental and skeletal fluorosis.
The condition is a primary concern for children that may be exposed to fluoride from a number of different sources as their teeth are developing. This can be seen as white or brown spots on the teeth and in rare cases it can weaken the teeth.
This occurs when people are exposed to very high quantities of fluoride for a prolonged period of time. Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease that’s mainly found in China and India where the consumption of groundwater rich in fluoride is more common.
Should I be Concerned About Fluoride Consumption?
Certain locations have higher concentrations of fluoride than others, but in the U.S. even the groundwater has relatively low levels of fluoride at 0.01 up to 0.3 ppm. Only when the fluoride concentration rises to 4.0 ppm is it considered to be a hazard to human health. To put this into some perspective, there would need to be 400x more fluoride present in most areas of the U.S. before there was any reason for concern. In fact, most potable water wells have lower fluoride concentrations than are recommended for the prevention of tooth decay according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Do I Need Home Water Filtration?
Fluoride is an essential mineral when consumed in moderation and the safe intake for adults is around 3 mg per day. This can come from a variety of sources, including food, supplements, and of course drinking water. There are benefits, but it’s a good idea to install a home water filtration system to remove a wide variety of waterborne contaminants anyway. The most cost-effective way to get purer water at home is to install a reverse osmosis or RO filtration system at your kitchen sink. This is a purely mechanical process, no chemicals are added and the water is healthier and safer to drink.
If you want to learn more about water filtration and softening for your home, contact your local water treatment specialist today.
By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.