What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is an important mineral that strengthens tooth enamel. This helps in preventing tooth decay on the surfaces of your teeth. This also explains why fluoride is held in such high regard.

Nearly every major health and safety-related organization in the world, endorses water fluoridation. It's a common practice in communities to "fluoridate" their drinking supplies so the general population can benefit from this inexpensive and effective preventative treatment. More than 144 million U.S. residents in over 10,000 communities drink fluoridated water, according to the American Dental Association. Most drink from public water supplies with sodium fluoride added artificially.

Bottled water, home water treatment systems, and fluoride exposure

In the case of bottled water use, could individuals be missing the benefits of optimally fluoridated water? Do home water treatment systems (e.g., water filters) impact optimally fluoridated water supplies? The answer is yes in both cases. This article from the American Dental Association will explain how you can avoid some of the pitfalls that may be preventing you from getting the maximum value of fluoride in the water you drink.

ADA statement on FDA toothpaste warning labels

The American Dental Association's Council on Scientific Affairs believes that one part of the warning required on fluoride toothpastes by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could needlessly frighten parents and children. They feel the label overstates any demonstrated or potential danger posed by toothpastes containing fluoride. The language, "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately," is now required on all fluoride toothpastes. The ADA, however, stated in a letter sent to the FDA last year, that a child could not absorb enough fluoride from toothpaste to cause problems. They also pointed out that the excellent safety record on fluoride toothpaste argues against any unnecessary regulation.

Enamel fluorosis

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has warned that a child could face a condition called enamel fluorosis. This is the result of he or she receiving too much fluoride during the years of tooth development. Too much fluoride can create defects in tooth enamel.

CDC's Community Water Fluoridation

Now you can find out whether your water system is fluoridated, by visiting a new Web site at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This new feature, "My Water's Fluoride," gives consumers in participating states an opportunity to check out basic information about their water system.

It will tell you the number of people served by the system and the target fluoridation level. Optimal levels range from 0.7 parts per million (ppm) for warmer climates, to 1.2 ppm for cooler climates. This is the recommendation by the U.S. Public Health Service and CDC for drinking water, accounting for the tendency to drink more water in warmer climates.

These are the states that are currently participating: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.