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Tags Posts tagged with "Fluorosis"


Pregnant Women and Fluoride Supplements

Fifty years ago you could have walked into a pharmacy and seen fluoride drops that were specifically targeted toward pregnant women. The packages claimed that fluoride drops, when taken during pregnancy would help keep their children cavity-free.

That all changed on October 20, 1966 when the FDA cracked down on the fluoride supplement makers.  They banned them from making claims that fluoride would benefit unborn babies’ teeth due to a lack of clinical evidence to substantiate that claim.

Source: Food and Drug Administration: Statements of general policy or interpretation, oral prenatal drugs containing fluorides for human use. Fed Regist Oct. 20, 1966

You may be wondering what we’ve figured out in the past 50 years about taking fluoride supplements during pregnancy.

Should Women Take Fluoride Supplements During Pregnancy?

Pregnant Women and Fluoride SupplementsThe answer is no — there is no evidence that taking fluoride supplements during pregnancy helps improve the baby’s chances of having healthier teeth.

Since fluoride supplements taken by the mother can cross the placenta, there is a chance that the well-meaning mother-to-be could actually cause their baby to get dental fluorosis.

The Evidence Against Taking Fluoride Supplements During Pregnancy

Here’s three different credible sources that all agree that there is no benefit derived from taking fluoride supplements during pregnancy.

A Clinical Trial

This clinical trial took 1400 pregnant women and divided them into two groups.  One group received 1 mg of fluoride per day during the last six months of their pregnancy while the other group received a placebo.  The kids were followed until age 5.  No noticeable difference in the amount of cavities was noted between the two groups.

A Scholarly Article

This scholarly article from the journal Pediatric Dentistry states, “Although fluoride crosses the placenta, prescribing fluoride supplements to pregnant women is not recommended because there is little evidence that fluoride provided to the mother during pregnancy reduces caries prevalence in their offspring.

A Statement from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

This guideline from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states, “The AAPD does not support the use of prenatal fluoride supplements to benefit the fetus.”


Although 50 years ago many people thought that taking fluoride supplements during pregnancy was good for their baby’s teeth, it turns out that modern science has debunked that myth.

There is no reason to take fluoride supplements during pregnancy.  And there’s actually a good reason not to: dental fluorosis.

Do you have any questions or thoughts regarding fluoride supplements and pregnancy?  I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Is Water Fluoridation Legal?

Ever since the government started adding fluoride to the public water supplies in 1945, there have been many people who have challenged the legality of fluoride in our water supplies.

They raised concerns about whether a city has the right to add a drug to the water supply that could help many people, but have side effects such as dental fluorosis.

This has caused some cities to stop fluoridating their water supplies.  For example, two of the three largest cities in Alaska, Fairbanks and Juneau no longer fluoridate their water supplies.

A recent news broadcast by the CBS TV station in Anchorange, Alaska asks whether or not Anchorange will be the next Alaskan city to stop fluoridating the public water supply.

Is Water Fluoridation Legal?

A new website aims to answer the question of whether or not water fluoridation is legal. It is called FLUID, which stands for Fluoride Legislative User Information Database.

FLUID Fluoride Legality

The site contains a database of federal, state, and local actions regarding water fluoridation as well as legal opinions of state and federal courts and allows anybody to search throughout this goldmine of information.

The website states that its mission is the following:

FLUID was created to be an up-to-date, user-friendly tool to answer questions about the legal and policy status of community water fluoridation in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The goal of FLUID is to enable users to access information based on legal fact and to be a resource that allows them to compare their current or proposed policies with others from across the country.


When the legality of water fluoridation is questioned in court, it seems that water fluoridation is usually upheld by the courts as legal.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think it’s legal to fluoridate public water supplies?  You can leave your thoughts in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Water Fluoridation Conspiracy

We’ve heard about a lot of conspiracy theories lately:

Is bin Laden really dead?
Was Obama really born in the United States?
Was 9/11 planned by the U.S. Government?

Today, I’m going to address a popular water fluoridation conspiracy theory: Is big business profiting from water fluoridation?

Is Water Fluoridation a Conspiracy?The theory goes along these lines:

Fluoride is a waste by-product of manufacturing, such as the manufacture of fertilizer.

The companies that make the fertilizer can’t find a cheap way to safely dispose of it, so they decide to sell it to the thousands of unsuspecting municipalities around the country by telling them that if they dump it in their water, they will have healthy teeth.  A frequent argument against water fluoridation is that companies are getting paid to dispose of their toxic waste and we are being forced to drink it!

De-Bunking the Water Fluoridation Conspiracy Theory

A spokesman for Alcoa, during an interview in 1972 stated that fluoride sales were not more than an “infinitesimal part” of Alcoa’s business model.  He said, “We are in business primarily to make and sell aluminum.  The future prosperity of the thousands of employees and shareholders who make up Alcoa depends principally upon how well we make aluminum, not on whether communities fluoridate their water.” (Source: Fluoridation Reporter, American Dental Association, 10(2), 1972.  Emphasis added!)

The American Water Works Association recently reported in this article and in this article that we are experiencing shortages of fluorosilicic acid, a by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry.  It would seem that if companies were making such a huge profit selling their “toxic waste” fluoride, then there would be a huge supply of fluorosilicic acid, rather than a shortage.

Find out if your water is really fluoridated with toxic waste fluoride.

The article notes that “At one point, Cleveland Water was only one day away from running out of FSA, but its supplier has managed a delivery in time for the utility to maintain fluoridation.”

It would seem that Cleveland Water would have a herd of shady businessmen knocking on their doors trying to sell them their “toxic waste” if this conspiracy theory were really true.


In summary, companies aren’t getting rich by selling their waste products for us to drink.

You can read all of the other articles I’ve written about water fluoridation.

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about water fluoridation?  Also, do you think that this conspiracy theory is true?  I’d love to hear what you have to say below in the comments section.  Thanks for reading!

Fluoride in Water and Toothpaste

Jake (whom I assume is a dentist) left an interesting comment about fluoride on Sunday.  He said:

I had an anti-fluoride patient the other day that was saying he read somewhere that a pea-sized amount of toothpaste contains the same amount of fluoride in 1 liter of tap water (1 ppm). His argument was that the toothpaste labels says to call poison control if more than a pea-sized amount is swallowed (which it doesn’t), and the same amount is in 1 liter of water. So he was wondering if he should call poison control every time he drinks more than a liter of water. It sounded ludicrous, but how much fluoride is actually in a pea-sized amount of toothpaste in comparison to 1 liter of water?

Fluoride Warnings On Toothpaste
Fluoride Warnings on Toothpaste (Click to enlarge)

I enjoy talking about water fluoridation.  Looking back, I’ve actually written 15 different posts about fluoride!

Jake’s comment really got me wondering about how the fluoride levels compare between fluoridated water and toothpaste.

Do Toothpastes Contain a Warning Telling You to Call Poison Control?

First, let’s take a look at the common anti-fluoride claim that fluoride is poison.  I took a picture of the back of three different brands of toothpastes: Colgate, Aquafresh, and Crest.  If you click on the picture, you can view a large size that will let you read the warning.  Each tube has a similar warning.  The back of the Colgate Total toothpaste box states:

If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.

But how much do people really use for brushing?  There’s the ultra-conservative pea size, and then there’s the large stripe that toothpaste manufacturers want us to use so that we buy lots of toothpaste!

I decided to find out how much toothpaste is in a large stripe by conducting a two-part experiment.

My Toothpaste Experiment

On the back of the toothpaste tube, it states that you should call the poison control center if you swallow more than is used for brushing.  This is what the toothpaste manufacturers write.  I took the liberty of assuming that a normal amount of toothpaste for them is a thick stripe on a manual toothbrush (like they show in their commercials).

I decided to find out exactly how much toothpaste is in a big stripe so that I could figure out how much fluoride it has.  I got carried away and tried two different brands.

Here’s the large stripe of Colgate Total that I put on my wife’s toothbrush (are your toothbrush bristles as straight as hers?  If not, it may be time to get a new toothbrush):

A Large Stripe of Colgate on a Brush

I measured the toothpaste and found that it filled the 1/4 teaspoon – giving us 1.25 ml of toothpaste:

Colgate Toothpaste Measured

Out of curiosity (and because it seemed like a fun idea after taking two finals over the past 36 hours), I measured the Crest Toothpaste as well.  I was able to get a slightly bigger stripe on the brush this time.  Unfortunately, the stripe I created just wasn’t as good looking as it is on the toothpaste commercials!  However, if you want to practice making a beautiful stripe of toothpaste on your brush, I have to recommend the Crest since it is much thicker.

Crest Stripe on Toothbrush

This large stripe of Crest ended up overflowing the 1/4 teaspoon, giving us about 1.75 ml of toothpaste:

Crest Toothpaste Measured

I decided to take the average of my two “large stripes” to use as the baseline amount of toothpaste you can swallow and still be safe (according to the toothpaste manufacturers) – which appears to be 1.5 ml from my unscientific experiment.

Contrast this with a peasize amount of toothpaste which is only 0.2 ml.  Who would’ve guessed that the average pea only takes up a volume of 0.2 ml?

Now that we know how much toothpaste we use, we can figure out how much fluoride we would ingest if we swallowed a large stripe of toothpaste.

How Much Fluoride is in Toothpaste?

A majority of toothpastes on the market contain about 0.15% fluoride ion, which comes out to 1500 ppm (parts per million.)

In 1.5 ml of toothpaste (the large stripe pictured above) you would find 2.25 mg of fluoride.

In a pea sized amount of toothpaste, you would only find 0.3 mg of fluoride.

How Much Fluoride is in Fluoridated Water?

Most fluoridated water contains about 1.0 ppm.  That means that in 1 liter of water, you would find about 1 mg of fluoride.

Not sure how much fluoride is in your water? Then find out how much fluoride is in your tap water!

Comparing the Amount of Fluoride In Water with the Amount of Fluoride in Toothpaste

As you can see, you would have to drink over 2 liters of water to get the same amount of fluoride that you would get by swallowing a large stripe of toothpaste.  You would only have to drink 300 ml of water (a little less than a 12 oz. can of soda) to get the same amount of fluoride you would get by swallowing a pea size amount of toothpaste.

You Don’t Need to Call Poison Control When You Drink Fluoridated Water!

I’m sure Jake’s patient was just trying to make a point.  Point taken!  However, according to the American Dental Association (Page 31 in their Fluoridation Facts PDF), it would take 5-10 grams of fluoride to cause fluoride toxicity in an average 155-pound man.  That means that a 155-pound man would need to drink 5,000 liters of water (over 1300 gallons!) in order to get a toxic dose of fluoride.

The water would kill you (as this tragic story illustrates) long before the fluoride would have any toxic effect.


Interestingly, there is more fluoride in a liter of water than in a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, but more fluoride in a large stripe of toothpaste than in a liter of water.  Here’s what I found:

  • In a pea size amount of toothpaste, there’s 0.3 mg of fluoride.
  • In a large stripe of toothpaste, there’s 2.25 mg of fluoride.
  • In one liter of fluoridated water, you’ll find 1 mg of fluoride.

Although fluoride is great for your teeth, too much of it during development of the teeth can cause dental fluorosis.

Do you have any questions about toothpaste fluoride content or water fluoride content?  I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

Water Fluoridation: Where I Stand

This is the final post dealing with water fluoridation in my week-long series discussing both sides of the water fluoridation debate.

Is Water Fluoridation Good?Hopefully you enjoyed the articles this week.  If not, don’t worry!  I’ll be back into my regular oral health writing routine next week.

If you missed the two previous articles, each of them explored one side of the water fluoridation debate.  You can read them by following the links below:

Top 10 Reasons to Support Water Fluoridation

Top 10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation

In this article, I’ll share a few of my own thoughts on the water fluoridation issue.

Where I Stand on Water Fluoridation

I do see valid arguments to both sides, and to be quite honest, I’m torn.  I think that the best way to express my feelings on the water fluoridation issue is to talk about two children — first, my son, and then someone else’s son.

Water Fluoridation

My Son and Water Fluoridation

I brush my children’s teeth every night before they go to bed.  When I started using fluoride toothpaste with my son, I made sure he spit it out.  I feel like my wife and I are in charge of his oral health, and that he wouldn’t have any cavities with or without water fluoridation.  With that said, I think that the only thing that would happen to my son as a result of drinking fluoridated water would be mild dental fluorosis.

We get fluoride from a number of sources.  I sometimes wonder if water fluoridation will provide enough extra fluoride to push him over the edge and cause his teeth to have the white speckled appearance characteristic of mild dental fluorosis.

Contrast this with the story below.

Another Child and Water Fluoridation

Now, imagine another child who grew up with parents who don’t really care about oral health.  We’ll call him Leroy.  Leroy’s parents let him eat candy all day and they are too busy to worry about brushing his teeth.  Water fluoridation is the only thing that Leroy has working in his favor when it comes to oral health.  His parents don’t even take him to the dentist.

In Leroy’s case, water fluoridation could potentially keep his baby teeth in good enough shape that he doesn’t get an infection from a tooth with a large cavity.  In this case, water fluoridation is a great thing!  The fluoride he receives every day when drinking could keep that little boy from having to go to the hospital due to a dental infection.

Should Both Kids Drink Fluoridated Water?

When you look at my son and Leroy, you can see that some people would benefit greatly from fluoride while other people could end up with enamel fluorosis and be embarrassed because of their teeth.

In an ideal situation, my son wouldn’t have to drink the fluoridated water.  In fact, he would probably give his fluoridated water to Leroy so that he could get a double dose of dental protection.  Unfortunately, water fluoridation is an all-or-nothing deal.  You can’t selectively fluoridate certain people’s water because that would be construed as discrimination.

This problem has led me to a lot of thinking.  It made me wonder if water fluoridation is the best way to get fluoride to kids like Leroy.

Is Water Fluoridation the Best Method?

There are alternatives.  Switzerland has had some success fluoridating the salt.  This would be relatively easy to do.  In 1924, Morton started putting iodine in salt.  They did this because iodine deficiency is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation.

In the book Fluoride in Dentistry, author Ole Fejerskov states, “Water fluoridation reaches everybody, a major advantage in terms of oral health and a problem in terms of social policy for those who dislike the overtones of compulsion. When domestic salt with added fluoride appears along-side non-fluoridated salt on the supermarket shelves, consumers have a choice. This makes fluoridated salt more palatable from the social policy viewpoint, but weakens its caries-preventive impact across the whole population.”

Salt fluoridation does have its drawbacks, which I will discuss in another article, but it is something to think about.

Since we began adding fluoride to water over 60 years ago, a lot has changed.  We are now surrounded by toothpastes with fluoride, mouth rinses with fluoride, and floss that is coated in fluoride.  Fluoride is even found in many of the packaged foods and drinks we consume.  I think we are ingesting too much fluoride.  Apparently that is the prevailing opinion, one which brought about the recent recommendations to reduce the amount of fluoride in our drinking water.


As you can see from what I’ve written above, I am both for and against water fluoridation.  One might say that although I’m in favor of using fluoride in appropriate doses, I see some definite problems with the mass water fluoridation that we see across much of the country.

Where do you stand?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation
©Maxim Blinkov/

Ever since communities started fluoridating their water, there have been people that are adamantly opposed to water fluoridation.

As you can see in the 1950’s era flyer to the right, some people even alleged that water fluoridation was some kind of communist plot to overthrow the American government.

Was Water Fluoridation a Communist Plot?Some of the arguments of anti-fluoridationists are very extreme and therefore seem like they are not based in truth.  I think that when people hear outlandish arguments alleging fluoride to be a giant conspiracy, they don’t take the anti-fluoridationists very seriously.  Because of this, I think that the many sound arguments against water fluoridation that do exist are never fully considered by the general population.

In the following article, I’ve attempted to consolidate ten of the best arguments against water fluoridation.  If you want to take a look at the opposing viewpoint, you can check out yesterday’s article, Top 10 Reasons to Support Water Fluoridation.

Top 10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation

Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation

1 – Water Fluoridation Is Associated with Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is a condition resulting from a child ingesting too much fluoride while the permanent teeth are developing.  In its mildest form, faint white specks can be seen on the teeth.  In more severe forms, the teeth can appear brown and mottled.

Dental fluorosis has been found to be more common in children that consume fluoridated water.  One source for this claim is this article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association in October of 2010.

Want to know more? Read this article about dental fluorosis.

2 – Water Fluoridation is a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Water fluoridation assumes that every person needs the same amount of fluoride.  It also assumes that everyone drinks about one liter of water per day.  While those statements may sound great in theory, the truth is that people are varied and have different needs.

Not everybody needs the same amount of fluoride.  People with poor oral hygiene may benefit from more fluoride while those with perfect oral hygiene who brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss could easily have a clean bill of oral health without water fluoridation.

The ideal situation would be to have people talk with their dentist about how much fluoride they actually need.  That way the dentist can assist the parents by providing an accurate assessment of their child’s fluoride needs.

3 – Water Fluoridation Prescribes a Drug to Everyone

Fluoride is technically considered a drug, since it does alter the way the body works. When fluoride is added to the drinking water, everyone gets prescribed a drug regardless of their individual situation.  A doctor would never prescribe a drug without taking into account the medical history of a patient, so it is interesting that communities allow everyone to “be prescribed” fluoride by putting it in their water source.

4 – There Is No Informed Consent with Water Fluoridation

If people are going to be drinking fluoridated water, it seems logical that they should be aware of any risks and benefits. A main problem with water fluoridation is that many people don’t really know the main benefits and risks.  The main benefit of fluoride is in reducing tooth decay.  The main risk is getting dental fluorosis.

To illustrate an example of this, in the cover story of the October 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, it recommended to not use fluoridated water to mix baby formula.  It states:

“If liquid concentrate or powdered infant formula is the primary source of nutrition, it can be mixed with water that is fluoride-free or contains low levels of fluoride to reduce the risk of fluorosis. These include water labeled as purified, demineralized, deionized or distilled, as well as reverse-osmosis filtered water. Many stores sell these types of drinking water for less than $1 per gallon.”

I highly doubt that very many parents even know that they aren’t supposed to be mixing infant formula with fluoridated water.  Even if they did, for some families it may be an excessive financial burden to continuously purchase reverse-osmosis filtered water for their baby.  Is it fair that a baby can’t even drink from the public water supply without endangering the appearance of their permanent teeth?

In light of this situation, the anti-fluoridation website Fluoride Action Network has started a petition to require water utility companies to add the following statement to all of their customers’ bills:

“Your public water supply is fluoridated. Fluoridated water should not be used or added to infant formula, foods, or drinks intended for babies 12 months of age or younger in order to avoid dental fluorosis.”

5 – Water Fluoridation is Mass Medication Without Choice

Many people believe that health matters are a personal choice and that they should not be forced to drink water that has been medicated with fluoride.

6 – The Water Supply Should Be Used for Delivering Water, Not Medicine

What if the gas company tried to sneak an additive into the gas supply that was touted to improve your health, but it also had some drawbacks?  Do you think that the utility companies should focus on delivering quality utilities or adding health-promoting chemicals to the utilities you consume? Many would argue that the same logic applies to water fluoridation and that people should be supplied with water and water alone.

7 – Water Fluoridation Takes Away Personal Responsibility

Water fluoridation is one example of the government trying to do things for the people.  It is a person’s responsibility to learn about the pros and cons of fluoride and then decide if they want to utilize fluoride in their oral health routine.  By allowing the government to make this choice for us, personal responsibility is diminished.

8 – Tooth Decay is Decreasing In Countries Without Water Fluoridation

The main reason that fluoride is added to water is to reduce cavities.  A recent article in the British Medical Journal contains a thought provoking graph that illustrates the downward trend in cavities over the past 40 years in 12 year-old children in Europe regardless of the fluoridation status of their country.

9 – Nobody Keeps Track of How Much Fluoride You Swallow

Let’s say you’re an avid jogger and you drink a LOT of water everyday.  Water fluoridation is based on the assumption that you’ll only drink around 1 liter of water per day.  What are you supposed to do if you’ve already had too much fluoride for the day and you’re thirsty?

Would you know if you’ve been ingesting too much fluoride?

On the other side of the spectrum, consider that the bottled beverage industry has grown explosively since water fluoridation began in 1945.  In 1945, most people drank tap water or beverages that were made from tap water.  With bottled beverages (such as water) so popular now, many people are not getting fluoride in the intended dose.

Learn how much fluoride is in bottled water.

Has fluoridating water become irrelevant?

10 – Where do you Draw the Line?

Ted Ferrioli, an Oregon state senator, has said that putting chemicals in the public’s drinking water takes away people’s choice and sets a bad precedent.  He states, “If I can fluoridate your water, where do I draw the line?”

I remember attending a dental public health lecture during my first year of dental school where the lecturer extolled the benefits of water fluoridation.  After the class, one of my friends went up and talked to her.  He asked her if she thought it would be a good idea to put other vitamins and minerals in the public water supply.  The lecturer replied that this was a topic that they have been researching.

Anti-Water Fluoridation Resources

If you want to learn more about the arguments against fluoridation, here are some of the sites dedicated to eliminating fluoride from the public water supply:

I don’t necessarily agree with everything contained in the sites in the four links above, but I thought it was important to include them to provide a balanced view of the water fluoridation issue.

What do You Think?

Are there any good anti-fluoridation arguments that I missed?  What are your views on water fluoridation?

I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation
©Dmitry Naumov/

You’re either with us, or against us” has been a popular quotation throughout history.  I think that phrase describes the water fluoridation debate fairly well.  There are many people against fluoride being added to their water, and many people that support the addition of fluoride to the public water supplies.

Reasons to Support Water FluoridationI’ve felt caught in the middle.  In my dental school we are bombarded with presentations on the benefits of water fluoridation and much of academia doesn’t seem to acknowledge that there are good arguments on both sides of the water fluoridation debate.

Today and tomorrow I’m going to try to give the best arguments for and against water fluoridation so that you can be more informed and decide which side you fit with.  Or, maybe this balanced view will leave you feeling much like me — stuck in the middle.

Top 10 Reasons to Support Water Fluoridation

1 – Water Fluoridation Saves Teeth

Water fluoridation prevents cavities — obviously, this is the main reason why fluoride is added to public water supplies.  Systematic reviews are considered near the top when it comes to reliable evidence because they comb through all of the studies on a certain topic, weed out the unreliable studies, and publish the combined results of the best studies.

In 2000, the British Medical Journal published a systematic review on the effectiveness of water fluoridation at reducing cavities.  The following sentence comes from their results:

“Water fluoridation was associated with an increased proportion of children without caries and a reduction in the number of teeth affected by caries.”

When cavities are prevented, teeth last longer.

2 – Water Fluoridation Strengthens Teeth

By drinking fluoridated water, you can incorporate fluoride into the enamel of your teeth.  When fluoride is present in your teeth, it makes them more resistant to being dissolved by acid.

Learn more about the three ways fluoride strengthens your teeth.

3 – Water Fluoridation Is Accessible to Everyone

Many people can’t afford to routinely go to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning — water fluoridation allows them to improve their oral health free of charge.  Fluoridated water helps both rich and poor alike.

4 – Water Fluoridation Saves Everybody Money

Unlike many public health measures, water fluoridation ends up saving money.  It can save individuals money by preventing cavities which allows you to avoid paying a dentist for a filling.  On a national level, it can save taxpayer dollars by preventing cavities in those who are insured by programs such as Medicaid.

The CDC has estimated that for every dollar invested in water fluoridation in communities of over 20,000 people, $38 in dental care is avoided.

5 – Water fluoridation Is Natural

Fluoride is naturally found in the water supply. Here’s a world map that shows where the water is naturally fluoridated at 1.5 PPM or above. Opponents of water fluoridation may argue that since water is fluoridated with a different type of fluoride, it’s hazardous. You can read more about that below.

Find out now: Is water fluoridated with toxic waste?

6 – The Fluoride Concentration Used In Public Water Supplies is Safe

Many opponents of water fluoridation claim that since fluoride is toxic in large quantities, we shouldn’t be adding poison to our water supply.  I would argue that most anything is toxic in excessive amounts.  Even water can kill you if you drink too much too quickly.  In small concentrations, fluoride is beneficial.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets maximum acceptable limits for many different substances that are in the water supply.  They have set the maximum limit for fluoride at 4.0 PPM.  A majority of fluoridated water contains fluoride at a concentration of 1.0 PPM.  That’s only ¼ of the allowable level.

7 – Water Fluoridation is Easy to Utilize

All you have to do is drink water and your teeth get the benefits of fluoride.  Since many people drink water when they’re thirsty, they can get the benefits of fluoride without even thinking about it.  People are more likely to drink water than they would be to rinse with a fluoride rinse every day.

8 – Water Fluoridation is Cheap

This study determined that depending on the community size and method of calculation used, water fluoridation costs between $0.46 and $3.44 per person every year.

That’s not much money considering that a filling can cost over $100 and a tooth that needs a root canal and crown can cost well over $1,000 to restore.

9 – Water Fluoridation Benefits Everyone

Even people who don’t live in areas with fluoridated water consume food products that were packaged in areas with fluoridated water.  By consuming foods and drinks processed in areas with water fluoridation, they can obtain the benefits of water fluoridation.

This is has sometimes been called the fluoridation halo effect and can be likened to the benefits of herd immunity that occurs with vaccinations.

10 – Water Fluoridation is Recognized As One of the Great Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century

The CDC included water fluoridation on their list of ten great public health achievements between 1900 and 1999.  The CDC has this to say about the impact of water fluoridation:

“Fluoridation of drinking water began in 1945 and in 1999 reaches an estimated 144 million persons in the United States. Fluoridation safely and inexpensively benefits both children and adults by effectively preventing tooth decay, regardless of socioeconomic status or access to care. Fluoridation has played an important role in the reductions in tooth decay (40%-70% in children) and of tooth loss in adults (40%-60%.)”

Pro Water Fluoridation Resources

If you want to learn more about the benefits of water fluoridation, here’s two great PDF brochures from the ADA and CDC and another helpful webpage.

What’s Your Take?

I’d love to hear what you think about water fluoridation in the comments section below!

Do you think I left out any important reasons to support water fluoridation?  Do you disagree?

Water Fluoridation Week on Oral Answers
©Rob Byron/

66 years ago this week, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city to add fluoride to its public water supplies.   Since then, a great debate has ensued regarding whether or not public water supplies should be artificially fluoridated.

Drinking Fountain Fluoridated WaterIn 1962, the United erectile dysfunction States government recommended that water be fluoridated with 0.7 to 1.2 PPM (How much is a PPM?)  Most water systems ended up fluoridating their water right around 1 PPM.  You can find out how much fluoride is in your tap water here.   Just over three weeks ago, the United States Department of Health and Human Services lowered the upper recommended limit of fluoride in public water to simply 0.7 PPM.

This week, I will take a close look at both sides of the fluoride debate and publish three different articles about water fluoridation:

1 – 10 Reasons to Support Water Fluoridation (Tuesday)
2 – 10 Reasons to Oppose Water Fluoridation (Wednesday)
3 – My Opinion on Water Fluoridation (Friday)

If you have any opinions on water fluoridation that you’d like to share, go ahead and leave them in the comments section below.

Dental Fluorosis Stains Teeth Chalky White
©Dozenist/Wikimedia Commons

Dental fluorosis happens when children swallow too much fluoride before their teeth have finished forming (usually before age 8.)  It was actually dental fluorosis that led researchers to eventually find that small amounts of fluoride can be beneficial for the teeth.

Dental fluorosis can range in severity from mild to severe.  The mild form appears as white specks on the teeth, as seen in the picture below.

Dental Fluorosis

The severe form of fluorosis is usually brown in color as seen in the picture below:

Severe Dental Fluorosis

It also looks like that person in the above picture has some cavities (the black spot on the tooth in the upper left of the picture and the other gray/white areas near the gumline)

Causes of Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is caused by swallowing too much fluoride.  This can happen in a number of ways, including:

  • Children being prescribed unnecessary fluoride supplements by their dentist (it does happen!)
  • Swallowing too much toothpaste when brushing
  • Babies drinking infant formula mixed with fluoridated water

How to Prevent Dental Fluorosis

You can reduce the risk that your child will get dental fluorosis by doing the following:

  • Not giving your child fluoride supplements if your child is not at risk for cavities
  • Using a fluoride-free  “training” toothpaste until your child can spit out all of the toothpaste when they’re done brushing
  • Mix infant formula with water that does not contain added fluoride


Dental fluorosis is a preventable condition.  By monitoring your child while they brush their teeth and taking steps to prevent unnecessary exposure to fluoride for your children, you can avoid this problem.  Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Do you have any questions about dental fluorosis?  Please leave your questions and comments below and I’ll get back with you.