Why is fluoride important?
Did you know dental cavities are the most common disease in children and adults worldwide? Fluoride is one of the best and safest ways we can prevent cavities for children and adults alike.
Here’s how fluoride works. Your mouth contains bacteria that feed on the sugars in the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. This produces acid that can wear away the hard, outer shell of your tooth (enamel). This can lead to cavities. Fluoride protects teeth by making the your teeth stronger and more resistant to acid. It not only reduces the risk of cavities, it can even help reverse early signs of decay. Due to its success in preventing cavities, fluoride in water was named a top public health achievement in the 20th century.
Do I need to be worried about my child drinking water with fluoride?
No. Fluoridated water is easy, inexpensive and one of the best beverage choices for kids. Sweetened drinks like fruit juice (even those labeled 100% natural), soda and sports drinks contribute to tooth decay. Fluoridated water protects teeth. Sugary drinks also contribute to weight gain, where water with fluoride is calorie-free.
Something else to keep in mind is that fluoride is natural. It is an element found at some level in all natural water sources. If you’re drinking tap water in communities that add fluoride to the public water supply, you’re getting just the right amount of fluoride to help your teeth thanks to strict standards set by the EPA. Not all bottled water has fluoride, so check the label or contact the bottler to be sure you’re getting the fluoride your teeth need. While most water filters used at home (in a pitcher or attached to the tap) do not remove fluoride, home water treatment systems such as reverse osmosis (RO) and distillation do remove significant amounts of fluoride from the water. Check with the manufacturer to learn if what you are using at home removes fluoride.