General Question

LivingLaVidaVerde's avatar

Is fluoride safe in our drinking water?

Asked by LivingLaVidaVerde (4points) May 27th, 2009

I have heard it can be a health hazard

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

20 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

If it wasn’t, why would they put it in?

Generally speaking, adding fluoride to water prevents many more problems than it creates.

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

i heard the government does it. as a sick kind of controlling measure.

hug_of_war's avatar

Flouride in large enough amounts is very lethal (it leeches calcium out of the bones), but as long as it is properly regulated you’re fine. Same goes for toothpaste.

ben's avatar

@dynamicduo There could be lots of other reasons, many of them economic.

I think fluoride is probably safe for most people, but not healthy for some others, and in general a terrible idea. The belief that most people hold to be fact that “it prevents their teeth from cavities” has been rejected by a large number of credited scientists. It seems most people in the US are significantly overexposed to fluoride which can causes spotting of the teeth, and may also be implicated in bone cancer in children.

For me, the fact the Europe spent lots of time and money looking at the pros and cons of fluoridation and deciding against it is pretty compelling.

For lots more info, I recommend checking out the Fluoride Action Network—they have lots of great information, and very compelling arguments against it.

dynamicduo's avatar

@A_Beaverhausen, this is a great way to practice skepticism. Look for proof supporting your theory. Look for information about fluoridation. You will find very little, if any, proof supporting the theory that “the government” (whose?) uses it for “mind control”. Furthermore, combine that with your knowledge of the world. Does it seem like people are somehow under mind control in countries where fluoride is added? I have looked at all of the evidence and I believe that adding it to the water is an appropriate step against widespread tooth decay. It’s no more worse than accepting the government’s intrusion elsewhere in your life, such as it telling you to put on a helmet when you bike.

jackfright's avatar

fluoride and mind control? in one sentence? wow. there’s a lot i dont know

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

screw helmets and tooth decay. @jackfright its because the gov. doesnt want you to know.

robmandu's avatar

My dentist says he loves it when Europeans come to his office… lots of soft teeth. In his family, they only drink fluoridated bottled water.

To get “mind control” from fluoride would require much greater concentrations than what’s in use in U.S. water supplies today.

At the end of the day, I think it was likely a well-intentioned idea that probably doesn’t work out as well as originally thought. Like daylight savings.

The fluoridation of the water supply is decided on a per municipality basis. The federal government does not perform the work. Individual communities can make the decision to add fluoride unilaterally, in most cases.

redstripe11's avatar

Wow, fluoride for mind control by the government? I don’t put a lot of stock in government conspiracy theories. The government can’t even deliver the mail!

LivingLaVidaVerde's avatar

It is hard to find a completely unbiased answer! We’re the only industrialized country without healthcare and it seems as though we’re also the only ones with fluoride in our water. Hmm…guess I’ll just have to suffer through it until I move elsewhere and hope for the best!

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

well its hard to find a completely unbiased individual.

ben's avatar

@LivingLaVidaVerde You can install an undersink reverse-osmosis filter for your tap water to remove the fluoride. I got one at Costco for under $200. Britas and similar won’t do it, though.

Dr_C's avatar

It woud have to depends on the concentration in your particular water supply. There is evience of the effects that @ben mentioned in many places.. the closest one to me that i can think of is a large portion of the population of Ensenada, Baja California (where the drinking water is known to contain fluoride) that have stained teeth (similar to a long-time smoker).

Facade's avatar

@dynamicduo The government OKs plenty of chemicals that are harmful to us.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

My mom used to be a dentist in rural Mississippi where many didn’t have access to municipal water. Instead they drank well water (the water in Mississippi is “soft” and contains very few minerals, including little to no fluoride), and she could guess with just about 100% accuracy whether they drank fluoridated water or not based on how much more tooth decay they had if it wasn’t fluoridated.

Also, according to The National Cancer Institute, most water naturally contains small amounts of fluoride, and many municipalities don’t have to add any, but the municipalities that do, only add a small amount to bring the levels up to approx. 1 part per billion.

dynamicduo's avatar

@Facade Where’s your proof? And of course, please note whose government you’re talking about.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

I personally am against it because I think it should be up to the individual; it’s not a vaccine or something that prevents a disease that can spread and harm other people, it’s a personal thing that doesn’t have anything to do with anyone else. This form of mass medication I do not support.

I also am extra-opposed to it because I have dental fluorosis on several of my teeth. I don’t know if fluoride in water is what caused it for me, but it has been shown to be a cause of dental fluorosis.

snowberry's avatar

Interesting thought. The first use of flouride was to control prisoners. It made them complacent, hence easier to manage. I wonder what the dosage was?

ben's avatar

I recently found this video on fluoridation to be quite compelling.

It’s about a half hour, and I found it to be very to be really convincing, and would be curious to hear other people’s thoughts on it.

lilikoi's avatar

@dynamicduo @LivingLaVidaVerde

I have looked into this. Fluoride is an effective method of tooth decay prevention ONLY WHEN APPLIED TOPICALLY to the surface of your teeth. That’s why fluoride is an active ingredient in toothpaste. And this is why your dentist applies fluoride in a tray to the surface of your teeth and you are required to leave it there for a few minutes. If rinsing your mouth with fluoridated water was more effective than either of these two, your dentist would tell you to do that instead.

Now when you fluoridate your water, some of the flouride in the water likely comes in contact with the surface of your teeth for a few milliseconds before it is washed INTO your body. Those few milliseconds of contact probably provide some small help in cavity prevention.

But when you INGEST fluoride, it can cause a slew of serious health problems. The effects are cumulative, just like sun exposure. As sun exposure over a long period of time causes cancer, exposure to even minute doses of fluoride over a long period of time can cause serious health problems. INGESTING fluoride does nothing for tooth decay prevention. You are ingesting a lot of fluoride for very little cavity protection because of the way fluoride works. You’re also buying a lot of fluoride and wasting most of it.

So NO, I do not agree that fluoridation of your water supply helps more than it hurts purely on the basis of science alone, but there are further implications to consider.

Water is a basic building block of life, arguably the most critical building block of life. Everyone should have a right to access to clean, potable water. Water should be delivered as pure as possible. We should not FORCE people to ingest fluoride against their will. When you contaminate a municipal water supply with a substance like fluoride you remove this individual ability to choose. You force people to conform.

The obvious, fair, sensible, and logical thing to do is to provide water to customers un-fluoridated so each person can choose for themselves whether or not they would like it in their water. You can add fluoride at the faucet in your home. There is no NEED for it to be added to a central water supply.

Some people have great teeth and strong enamel and simply do not need extra fluoride to prevent cavities. I went over a decade without seeing a dentist and still have no cavities (no, we do not fluoridate water in Hawaii – that would be a damn shame since our water is mostly groundwater and is thus some of the – or perhaps the – purest in the world). Why should I have to be forced to be exposed to ill health effects of fluoride when I stand to gain NOTHING, and then have to pay for it on top of that? It is not like those prone to cavities cannot choose to fluoride the water within their own home.

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