With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment industry, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley.
Over the last few decades fluoride has been added to water supplies to increase the prevention of tooth decay. It is widely believed that the fluoridation of water is an essential aspect of maintaining public health. While this is generally considered to be a beneficial additive to the water supply, scientific research of late has shown that this process may actually be detrimental to health.
A Brief History of Fluoridation of Municipal Water Supplies
Adding fluoride to water supplies has become increasingly commonplace (except Europe) since the middle of the last century. It was assumed that fluoride protected tooth enamel and could provide increased bone density. However, research conducted by Limeback & Hardy in 1993 and Phipps & Burt in 1990 found that fluoride can actually weaken bones and cause a teeth staining effect called fluorosis.
Fluoride and the Campaign to Use It EVERYWHERE
Fluoride is actually not only added to municipal water supplies around the world, (including Canada,) but can be found in a host of dental products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride advocates argue that fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, which is needed to prevent the demineralization of the tooth enamel. This theory hypothesizes that minerals can be lost from the layer of tooth enamel due to acids from sugars and plaque bacteria attacking the dental enamel. It is argued that fluoride in drinking water ensures that people, vulnerable to enamel damage such as children, will have sufficient minerals to prevent tooth decay.
Many dental experts in fact believe that fluoride is critically essential, especially for children under the age of six, during the development of permanent teeth. It is argued that fluoride can assist in the re-mineralization and disrupt the effects of acid damage already present in the teeth of both children and adults.
And Now For the Possible Dangers of Fluoride
Like in everything else in life, there are two sides to every story. Many experts have concerns about the potential dangers of fluoride on the human body. Fluoride is in the iodine family of elements, and while iodine is essential for proper thyroid function, increased fluoride levels are believed to affect this delicate balance, triggering thyroid problems. This can cause symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, irregular bowel functions as well as cold extremities due to circulatory issues.
The anti fluoride experts also mention that fluoride is not actually effective against tooth decay. They argue that most developed countries do not actually fluoridate their water supplies e.g. 97% of Western Europe’s population drinks non-fluoridated water. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) there is no difference between the levels of tooth decay in populations who drink fluoridated water compared to non-fluoridated water. While the decline in the level of tooth decay over the last sixty years has been attributed to fluoridated water, it is argued that the same rate of decline has occurred in all the developed countries, most of which do not have fluoridated water.
The main case against fluoridated water is that the dosage of fluoride is assumed to be the same for everyone. However, that makes no sense. A child of 4 and an aged person of 90 do not have the same body mass or size of say an adult in their 40’s. Also elderly and infants may be more susceptible to the potential dangers posed by fluoride.
If you are concerned about fluoride and other additives in your water supply, contact a certified CWQA water treatment professional for answers. They typically specialize in water filtration systems and would be happy to answer any questions you may have on how to eliminate fluoride from your water supply.