Fluorides are compounds that contain fluorine and are naturally present in water. Fluoride can help fight tooth decay and prevent the formation of cavities. That is why fluoride toothpastes get so much attention the world over. Recently it has been found that drinking fluoridated water is a way to prevent tooth decay. However, this topic remains a controversial one, as some people believe fluoridated water can cause cancer. So, the question is, does fluoridated water really help in fighting oral problems? And is it safe to drink water that has high level of fluoride?
Nowadays fluoridated water is made available to public to help fight tooth decay and other oral problems. This type of water contains fluoride at a level effective for fighting against cavities, which has been suggested by WHO to be 0.5 to 1.0 mg/L. Since controlled fluoride levels are added to public water supply it is safe to consume this water. However, we cannot be sure about the amount of fluoride contained in bottled water. Moreover, some water filters used at home can remove fluoride from water, so the right type of filter should be installed at home in order to prevent oral complications including tooth decay and cavities.
Several studies have shown that fluoridated water can help fight tooth decay, reduce the need for fillings, and tooth extractions. Moreover, community water fluoridation is a cost-effective way to prevent disease and conditions related to oral health. Some bottled water also contains fluoride but the manufacturers do not state explicitly if their water contains fluoride. Instead, they simply list the additives that have been added for water fluoridation, such as fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. If these ingredients are listed on the bottle of mineral water, you can be assured that it contains fluoride.
Sodium fluorosilicate and sodium fluoride are dry additives which are dissolved in some solution before adding them to the water. These additives are produced through a heating process, which is initiated with the addition of sulfuric acid. Water treatment plants are required to meet quality standards for these additives to be added to the bottled water. If these standards are not being met by the manufacturers, the bottled or mineral water may not be as effective as community water in fighting against tooth decay.
Water fluoridation does not alter the physical properties of drinking water. However, it may cause dental fluorosis which is a condition characterized by appearance of white spots on the surface of teeth. Other than this, no adverse health effects of drinking fluoridated water have been reported so far. Remember that drinking this type of water is only a way to prevent cavities. If you already suffer from tooth decay, it is advisable to undergo a proper treatment instead of drinking fluoridated water or using fluoride toothpastes.
Despite the strong evidence that supports its benefits, water fluoridation is still a topic of debate in many countries around the world. Always make sure that the water you drink is of high quality, does not contain any harmful additives, and has been declared fit for drinking.