Most of us know that drinking fluoridated water helps reduce the risk of cavities. But many questions remain. Can I get too much fluoride? Here in Arizona, most of us drink some type of filtered water. If so, does that mean I don’t get enough fluoride? We hope to clarify some of the murky water surrounding this issue.
The American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry have made recommendations on the fluroide ion level in drinking water based on age. In addition, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine provides age related recommendations based on age and gender. For example, for an adult female over the age of 19, adequate intake is considered to be between 3 – 10 mg per day.
The ADA recommends that the community water supply be between .7 – 1.2 mg per liter. The community water supply in Phoenix ranges between .38 – .73 mg per liter. So an adult female in Phoenix could drink between 2.1 liters – 12 liters of tap water per day to comply with standard recommendations. Obviously, that is quite a range.
But what if she is drinking filtered water? Well, it depends.
Research findings indicate that:
Steam distillation removed 100% of the fluoride content.
Water softeners do not significantly remove fluoride from water.
Charcoal/carbon filters generally do not remove fluoride.
Reverse osmosis removed 65-95% of fluoride.
How much fluoride is actually removed depends on a variety of factors, such is if the system is being maintained, water pressure, etc.
It is not practical nor advisable to test your water daily or measure your intake to ensure a pressie consumption of fluoride. It is advisable to consume fluoridated water as well as use a fluoridated toothpaste as a means to prevent cavities. Children and adults may be offered a fluoride treatment as part of their 6 month check-up at the dentist.
To see if the water you drink regularly is fluoridated, you may need to do a little research. You can contact the local or state health department, the manufacturer of your home water filtering system, or the supplier of your favorite bottled water. Ask the range of fluoridation in the water supply they provide. Again, the ADA recommends the fluoride in water supply be between .7 – 1.2 mg per liter.
If you learn that the water you drink regularly is not fluoridated, you could be losing the preventative effects of optimally fluoridated water. If your family falls into this category, as many of us do here in Phoenix, speak with your dentist about how to make sure you and your family are adequately protected.

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