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Does Filtered Water Have Fluoride? | Find Out The Facts

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Tim Rhodes

Does filtered water have fluoride?

If you’ve been wondering about this, don’t fret because we’re here to answer your questions.

Over the last few decades, fluoride has been added to water supplies for drinking purposes to avoid tooth decay and for teeth whitening.

Filtered water may contain fluoride along with other minerals because not all filters are made to remove fluoride.

This wasn’t a cause for worry until recently when it was discovered that fluoridated water can potentially cause many diseases and problems.

Government officials disagree with this and claim there are multiple benefits to developing teeth which outweigh any risk posed by fluoridated water.

This is also because there is little and hard evidence that backs the claim of critics except for a few studies.

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Last update on 2021-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If Filtered Water Really Has Fluoride: The Facts

Does Filtered Water Have Fluoride?

Many people argue that since fluoride is added to toothpaste, it shouldn’t harm us.

The evidence is that it keeps our teeth in good shape.

Researchers had been on to something since a few years ago, the US public health service decreased the recommended fluoride amount in drinking water.

While all forms of water do contain a certain percentage of fluoride, all of which are not harmful.

Many researchers criticize the use of fluoride in drinking water and argue that by allowing our filtered and other drinking water supply to be contaminated by fluoride, we are harming our health and bodies severely.

What Is Water Fluoridation?

Water fluoridation is when a certain percentage of fluoride is added to water for public consumption. 

Some oppose this addition while others support it.

The most common compounds added to water are:

Sodium Fluorosilicate

This is a white, odorless powder. 

This substance is easy to transport and has many other uses as well such as being present in laundry and dishwashing products.

Sodium Fluoride

This is a colorless and odorless powder (can be present in crystalline form as well) that easily dissolves in water.

This compound is normally used in fluoride compounds, toothpaste, and supplements.

This is one of the major compounds used for water fluoridation.

While it is expensive when compared to other compounds, it’s far easier to transport and dissolves more quickly as well.

Fluorosilicic (Hydrofluorosilicic) Acid

This is an acid used for water fluoridation in the United States but not so much in other countries.

It’s one of the most inexpensive and dangerous compounds, a potential threat to workers if they’re not careful when handling it.

How Does Fluoridated Water Pose A Threat To Us?

Fluoridated water isn’t harmful in small doses, it can even be good for us, but over a certain percentage, its risks outweigh the advantages.

Fluorosis

Excessive fluoride can cause fluorosis – a problem that changes the appearance of human teeth by causing yellow streaks to appear on the teeth.

This isn’t exactly harmful but may put off many people because of appearances.

Not only the teeth but the skeleton is also affected, too.

Overexposure to fluoride causes changes in bone cell growth.

It affects the tissue structure and weakens the skeleton overall.

Acutely Affects The Brain & Nerve Cells

A research study conducted on animals suggested that high consumption of fluoride may be toxic to brain and nerve cells. 

Besides this, studies have shown that there’s a possible link between learning memory and cognitive defects with high exposure to fluoride. 

Hindered Cognitive Development In Children

A research in JAMA Pediatrics discovered that high intake of fluoridated water during pregnancy was directly related to children being born with low IQ.

This was especially predominant in males. 

The research was conducted across six Canadian studies and spanned for three years and included over 500 women as test samples, most of which consumed fluoridated water in some capacity.

Thyroid Problems

There have been incidents reported where excessive fluoride in filtered water caused damage to the parathyroid gland which can result in hyperparathyroidism.

This can lead to a decrease in calcium in bones and an increase in calcium in the blood which makes bones vulnerable to fractures.

Fluoride Poisoning

This isn’t common with fluoridated water as most filtered water contains a small percentage of fluoride, but excessive consumption of fluoridated water can lead to the following problems:

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive saliva
  • Seizures and muscle spasms

Why Should We Oppose Fluoridated Water?

Besides the above-listed problems, there are many other reasons why we should voice our disapproval of fluoride in filtered water.

Not Required By The Body & Not An Essential Nutrient

There’s no medical study that backs the claim of fluoride being needed by the body besides the improvement of teeth which we already get by using fluoride-infused toothpaste.

Unethical Practice

The majority of the people oppose fluoride being added to water.

When the government decided to add fluoride to drinking water, they did not consider the view of the majority of the people who viewed fluoridated water as harmful.

Doses Cannot Be Controlled

There’s no way to monitor each individual’s water intake.

Since the government can’t go door-to-door checking up on the daily water consumed by each individual, there’s no way to ascertain how much-fluoridated water is being consumed by each person as everyone doesn’t drink the same amount of water.

There Are Other Sources Of Flouride

People already get fluoride from other sources such as toothpaste and other pesticide residues.

Since fluoride is not medically required and we get the benefit through other products, there’s no need to include additional amounts in filtered water.

According to studies, especially an important NIH-funded one, there’s no obvious correlation between tooth decay and fluoride ingestion.

May Cause Health Problems

Fluoride may cause arthritic symptoms.

It also has the potential to cause reproductive problems.

How To Filter Fluoride From Water?

While most contaminants and impurities can be removed from water by boiling or through simple filters, the same doesn’t apply to fluoride.

But the good news is that many water purification methods are widely acknowledged to remove fluoride from drinking water.

Before purchasing a filtrations system to remove fluoride, it’s advised that you first check the percentage of fluoride contaminating your water.

This will help you determine the best filtration system or method that would work for you and your family!

Reverse Osmosis

A reverse osmosis system makes use of existing water pressure to shove the contaminated water through many filtration layers until the contaminants are removed and clean water is accessible. 

Pros:

  • Can remove up to 85-92% of fluoride from water
  • Besides fluoride, it also removes other contaminants such as chlorine, sulfates, lead, etc.
  • Does not add additional chemicals to your water

Cons:

  • Requires electricity to run
  • Expensive
  • Discard a large amount of water while filtering

An Activated Alumina Filtration System

This is a simple-to-use filtration system which can be installed easily and is directly connected to your water tap.

Alumina filtration systems make use of gravity filters which pull contaminated water down passing it down through filters to cleanse it.

The pros of activated alumina filtration system:

  • It can absorb more impurities over a shorter period as compared to other filtration systems
  • It is effective in removing the majority of the contaminants from water 

The cons of activated alumina filtration system:

  • Requires for its cartridge to be replaced frequently which can be costly
  • The flow of water needs to be slow as well as low pH for the system to be work in optimal condition

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Cons:

  • Requires an energy source to function

Controversies Regarding Fluoride

There are two schools of thought regarding the controversy regarding fluoride: first, people who actively support it and support fluoridated water, and second, people who vehemently oppose the addition of fluoride in water.

This debacle is caused by researches of one party being refuted by the other through their research. 

Taking the example of German researchers, who in 2000, reported that tooth decay fell in cities that stopped adding fluoride to their drinking water.

This was given less priority after the researchers conceded that the reason for the decline maybe because of the increased awareness regarding dental health and more people using dental health products.

There are very few detailed studies that talk about the harms of fluoride but then again, there are also doctors and researchers that support adding fluoride to the water supply.

What Percentage Of Fluoride Is Recommended?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the accurate amount of fluoride for teeth care is 0.7 milligrams in every liter of water.

Previously, the figure was much higher but because of backlash and research, in 2015, the figure was revised. 

What’s WHO’s Opinion On This?

The safe limit according to WHO guidelines are 1.5 ppm and drinking water that contains a higher amount of fluoride than this can lead to different health problems. 

Facts About Fluoride

In the correct amount, fluoride does benefit teeth.

Over 100 national and international health organizations agree to the potential benefit of adding fluoride to water.

Fluoride, being a neurotoxin, can be harmful in large doses.

Frequent consumption of large doses of fluoride can lead to teeth discoloration.

Fluoride is naturally found in water, soil, and many foods.

Ways To Reduce Fluoride Exposure

Follow the following tips and ways to reduce fluoride exposure:

1. Don’t Swallow Toothpaste With Fluoride

Fluoride toothpaste is often one of the major factors that lead to the intake of fluoride. 

This is especially harmful to children because they often swallow toothpaste during brushing their teeth and according to researchers, children swallow more fluoride than toothpaste which causes their teeth to decay.

If you have a young child or there are children in your house, it’s better to take precautions and stop buying toothpaste that contains fluoride. 

You should also supervise your children when they are brushing their teeth and teach them that they should only brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and not ingest unneeded toothpaste. 

2. Don’t Drink Water With Fluoride

Tap water on average is the biggest source of consuming fluoride for people who live in areas that add high percentages of fluoride to their water supply.

To avoid drinking water that contains fluoride, follow the three methods below:

Water Distillation

One of the best ways to avoid fluoridated water is to purchase a distillation unit. 

Water distillation units remove almost all the fluoride present in the water along with any other impurities that may be present in the water.

Water Filters

Another way to avoid fluoride is to purchase a water filter. 

You should however note that not all filters remove fluoride so make sure to purchase one that does the job efficiently. 

The types of filters that can remove fluoride are activated alumina, reverse osmosis, and deionizers.

Most of these filters can remove up to 90% of fluoride.

Springwater

A sure way to avoid fluoride is to purchase spring water, but be careful as not all companies manufacture fluoride-free water.

This can be an expensive alternative for some, but health-conscious people should look towards this option.

If you want to purchase spring water with very low fluoride addition, you can search up companies that add little amounts to their bottles.

This information can be easily found on the websites of most water companies.

3. Eat Fresh & Organic Food

You should note that when fluoridated water is produced, fluoride isn’t just added to water, it’s used in the production of processed food.

The more processed the food will be, the more likely it has a greater percentage of fluoride added to it. 

On the bright side, freshwater and organic foods have very little fluoride in them.

Use this knowledge to eliminate processed and junk food from your diet and replace them with fresh foods that are healthy and good for you.

The processed items that have the highest fluoride ratio are beverages like sports drinks, fizzy drinks, etc.

So, out of all the unhealthy consumption items, try to remove processed beverages the most from your diet.

4. Avoid Cooking With Non-Stick Pans

There have been some studies that found non-stick pans increase the fluoride content of food when you cook in them.

Consider buying stainless steel pans to remove this worry completely.

5. Avoid Getting Fluoride Gel Treatment When At The Dentist

While most people and doctors agree that fluoride gel treatment should only be reserved for those patients that have the highest risk of cavities, many dentists ignore this and continue to make use of these treatments whether the patient is harmed from them or not.

This procedure requires the patients to bite down on a highly-concentrated fluoride gel at around 12,300 ppm.

This causes patients to produce a large amount of saliva and whether they want to or not, they can’t help but swallow that concentrated gel.

Imagine how horrible it is for the teeth when this percentage is far above the recommended dose. 

Because of ingesting this fluoride gel, fluoride enters the blood and causes patients to experience nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and can even lead to kidney failure.

6. Don’t Take Fluorinated Medicines 

You might have noticed that many medicines are fluorinated meaning they contain a bond of carbon with fluoride. 

Most of the time, this bond isn’t broken when the medicine containing it is ingested but that’s not always the case. 

7. Avoid Fluoridated Salt

This point is pretty self-explanatory but some countries and localities sell fluoridated salt.

If your country allows it, make sure that the salt you buy is fluoride-free because ingesting it can lead to increased exposure to fluoride.

8. Reduce Consumption Of Mechanically-Deboned Chicken

The majority of the meat products that are pulverized to a pulp shape are created through a process called mechanical deboning.

This process brings about an increase in the bone particles that go into the meat.

Since we have learned that the majority of the fluoride is stored in the bones, eating such meat products could lead to exposure to fluoride.

Take extra caution with chicken because out of all the meat products, mechanically-deboned chicken contains the most fluoride. 

9. Avoid Inorganic Grape Juice & Wine

This is important to do because, in most of the vineyards in the US, a pesticide and cryolite are used.

This pesticide is rich in fluoride and because of its usage, often, the levels of fluoride in white wine and grapes are elevated.

If you wish to buy wine or grapes, then consider purchasing organic brands as they don’t use such pesticides and you won’t be harmed from fluoride.

If money is an issue as organic wines can be expensive, look for wines of European origin as such European brands don’t use many fluoride-infused fertilizers than the US.

10. Lessen Black & Green Tea Consumption

You might be surprised to find out that tea, especially bottled and instant, contains large amounts of fluoride. 

Tea plants gather high levels of fluoride and when too much tea is consumed, fluoride intake exceeds the recommended amount and weakens the bones, a problem referred to as skeletal fluorosis. 

This is not to say that all teas are bad rather most teas contain plenty of antioxidants that are needed by the body and make you healthy.

What would be the perfect situation is if we could consume a tea that is filled with antioxidants but contains little to no fluoride but of course, that isn’t possible.

A recent study discovered that tea of young leaves has a greater level of antioxidants and a very less percentage of fluoride, still not perfect but close to the ideal situation. 

If you wish to consume less fluoride, try to find young tea leaves or tea which is of high quality as the higher the quality, the fewer fluoride it will have.

Is There A Chance Of Fluoride Being Good For You?

Fluoride isn’t harmful if used in an appropriate and controlled amount.

It’s amazing for community water as can be observed from the below reasons:

It’s Natural

Fluoride isn’t man-made rather it’s naturally present in groundwater and oceans. 

Generally, water fluoridation is adding the recommended dose of fluoride to water so that it helps prevent tooth decay. 

This can be seen as enriching aa substance to make it more potent in benefits like taking the example of milk with vitamin D. 

Prevents Tooth Decay

Fluoride is added to water for the reason of preventing tooth decay and making sure there is a decrease in dental problems.

This is debatable as many types of research have found that the less the fluoride in water, the better your teeth will be.

Saves Money

It’s found that the cost of a single dental filling is more than the average lifetime cost of fluoridating the water supply of a single individual.

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Last update on 2021-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts: Does Filtered Water Have Fluoride?

From this article, we can conclude that there are mixed opinions regarding fluoride.

It’s present in our tap water and many times filtered water has it, too.

If the system used to filter the water is not up to the mark or not made for removing fluoride, chances are there’s fluoride in it.

While it’s proven that the recommended amount of fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, it’s not certain if we don’t consume more than that amount when we drink water.

Since most of our dental products already contain fluoride, it’s better to opt for a filtration system that can remove fluoride and consume drinks and food that contain as little fluoride as possible.

We hope we’ve answered the question, “Does filtered water have fluoride?” throughout this article.

If you’d like to learn other things about water, check out the articles on our site.

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