Pros and cons of fluoridating drinking water

The issue of adding fluoride to municipal drinking water supplies has become a hot button topic in recent years. Some cities and residents have long supported the potential health benefits of widespread fluoridation. Other people have expressed their opposition to what they consider forced medication by the government. Some critics have even voiced their doubts about the health benefits of fluoridation. Here are some of the pros and cons to adding fluoride to public drinking water sources.

Health benefits of fluoride
According to Discovery Fit and Health, the measure of adding fluoride to water was first endorsed by the American Dental Association in 1953. It was thought that fluoride, which is an active ingredient in most toothpaste brands, could provide the same health benefits as brushing one's teeth. These included strengthening the enamel of teeth while preventing decay, cavities and tooth loss. The idea behind fluoridation of public drinking water supplies was that people who didn't regularly brush their teeth would gain access to the same health benefits. This was especially important for children.

Drawbacks to fluoridation
Despite the noted health benefits of fluoride, there have been questions and doubts raised as to its efficacy when put in drinking water. Some experts have even claimed that excessive fluoride can result in a host of negative outcomes, including a cosmetically damaging effect known as fluorosis. According to Discovery Fit and Health, fluorosis is a staining of the teeth. Although this does not cause any serious physical problems, the National Institutes of Mental Health have suggested that fluoride-damaged teeth can lead to psychological and behavioral problems. Additionally, while some dentists and experts expound the benefits of fluoride, they have stressed that it must be applied topically to be effective.

"[Fluoridation] does not work ingested," Dr. Robert C. Dickson, a family physician in Calgary, told CBC News. "It's like trying to ingest your sunscreen. Fluoride works topically. So let's put it on our teeth. Let's put it on with brushing. Let's put it on at the dentist, if you choose. Let's not put it inside our bodies where it doesn't work.”

The widespread medication of whole population segments through drinking water supplies is off-putting to some residents. According to Discovery Fit and Health, there exists no medication or supplement that is tolerated universally by populations, and fluoride is no different. Different people have their own tolerances to the element, yet are all susceptible to the same dosage. The news source reports that low thyroid functions, leading to fatigue, weight gain and irregular bowel function, could be exacerbated by consuming too much fluoride.

Residents on both sides of the debate stand to benefit from using bottleless water coolers from Quench. Consumers who believe in the health benefits of fluoride will be happy to hear that the standard 5-stage filtration in Quench water coolers does not remove fluoride from the water. Meanwhile, opponents to fluoridation can still enjoy the delicious taste of water from Quench water coolers by opting for the optional reverse osmosis filtration that does effectively removes fluoride, as well as a variety of contaminants. 

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