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January 18 2010

The Fluoride Argument: Beneficial or Not?

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If there’s one water matter that causes much debate, it’s fluoride. Some say it’s good, some say it’s dangerous. What are the facts? As with most controversies, it lies somewhere in the middle.

Last year, my dentist nearly jumped out of his seat when I alluded to the controversy surrounding fluoride. “There’s never been a single thing that has been a better way to improve the health of teeth in our country!” But there are other dentists that disagree. Some say it is immoral to add it to our water supply and that it breaches our human rights as individuals. Others say it’s required for the well-being of the population.

Fluoride is often added by water municipalities to reduce tooth decay. It can be helpful or harmful, depending on the amount in water. Fluoride, at levels of up to 1 part per million will help prevent tooth decay. However, according to the Water Quality Association (WQA), levels above 2 parts per million can cause dark brown staining (“Colorado Brown Stain”) or give a chalky white color to teeth. Skeletal fluorosis can arise when the body has been drinking highly fluoridated concentrations of over 4 parts per million. This is a serious disease bone malady similar to osteoporosis. When fluorides at high levels are detected, it is necessary to remove it from water. That said, most issues related to fluoride are still insignificant.

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There have many worries over the past several years that fluoride is possibly associated with cancer and some studies suggest it may not even as effective as once thought in reducing tooth decay. It is a much debated topic and very little hard evidence exists, so you may want to reach your own conclusions before deciding whether or not you should remove it from your family’s water. It is recommended that very high levels should always removed. The appropriate amount is 1 mg/L.

Chances are, you’re getting enough fluoride just from the toothpastes and mouthwashes that are added by manufacturers to their products for dental well-being.

There are several methods to remove fluoride from drinking water, you will need a reverse osmosis under-counter drinking water system, which will reduce it approximately 50%. Or, a fluoride-specific filter made of activated alumina which will reduce it about 90%. One good unit that can be customized to include fluoride removal is http://www.puriteam.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=103

For more information on fluoride and other water issues facing consumers today, visit www.puriteam.com.