There’s something that is intended to be “beneficial,” which is added to our water that could actually be detrimental to your health. The National Academy of Sciences recently released a report that questions the current limit of fluoride allowed in our drinking water.
Right now, four milligrams per liter of water is the maximum. This could soon change — if the government takes the report results seriously. Why should it matter? Isn’t fluoride good for you? Isn’t that why they add it to the water supply in the first place? Well, it turns out that the issue isn’t quite as simple as it seems.
In many parts of the U.S., 0.7 to 1.2 mg of fluoride per liter of water is added to the drinking supply in an effort to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is that stuff your dentist puts on your teeth to help strengthen them and fight off cavities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinking water with fluoride in it slashes tooth decay rates by 18% to 40%, which is quite significant.
The problem comes in when water contains high levels of naturally occurring fluoride, such as from sources like rock or the soil. This can elevate the amount of this substance to four milligrams or higher, which can be unhealthy for the people drinking the water. Even two milligrams could be too much. But what, exactly, does too much fluoride do to your body?
Well, the report reveals that children who regularly drink water with the current allowable limit increase their risk for “dental fluorosis,” which is an irreversible condition that damages the enamel of the teeth. Fluorosis progresses from white spots to brown spots to pitted and porous teeth, which could also lead to more cavities (ironic, isn’t it?).
Moreover, people who have been exposed to these fluoride levels over a long period of time can also end up with weakened bones, which means they’re also at a greater risk for getting fractures as well.
It’s essential that our government reexamine the allowable levels of fluoride in our drinking water, although this could take years.
If you live in an area with high levels of this substance in the tap water, then consider a filtration system or sticking to bottled water (just be sure to check for fluoride levels on this, too).