Water fluoridation refers to the controlled addition of fluoride in public water supply to reduce decay of tooth. Fluoridated water is adding of fluoride at levels that are effective for preventing cavities that naturally occur.
Drinking fluoridated water creates low levels of fluoride in saliva, which reduces the rate at which tooth enamel deminerlizes, and increases the rate at which it remineralizes in the early stages of cavities.
The WHO expert committee suggested a level of fluoride from 0.5 to 1.0 mg/L, depending on the climate. Bottled water usually contains unknown fluoride levels and some of the expensive household water filters remove some or all fluoride.
Dental cavities affect 60 to 90 percent of school children and a vast majority of adults; and remain a major public health concern in most industrialized countries. Water fluoridation prevents cavities in both children and adults. Studies show that 18 to 40 percent of reduction in cavities when children use fluoridated water.
However, with all the advantages, there are disadvantages of fluoride in water. Water fluoridation leads to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Dental fluorosis, which is an excess of fluoride, can also alter the appearance of children’s teeth during the developing years. Skeletal fluorosis, the result of high concentration of fluoride, weakens the bones. There have been isolated cases of fluoride poisoning from addition of excessive quantities of fluoride. This shows up as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The effects depend on the total daily intake of fluoride from all sources of water, drinking water being the largest. Studies show that fluoride is a toxin that can cause liver and brain damage, osteoporosis and thyroid disorders.
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