The Pros and Cons of Water Fluoridation

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Fluoride is added to drinking water for its benefits in preventing tooth decay. A chemical element that is abundantly found in earth’s crust, fluoride naturally occurs in water, air, soil, rocks, etc.

Fluoride intake not only prevents tooth decay but also prevents tooth cavities. It plays a major role in keeping teeth strong, which is why it forms a part of many dental products.

Despite its benefits, the process of adding fluoride to water, known as fluoridation, has faced controversy. The process has both supporters as well as critics.

Controversy Surrounding Water Fluoridation

Dental associations around the world support adding optimal amounts of fluoride in public water, while the critics believe it to be an unethical approach to force medication on the general public. The critics of water fluoridation also have doubts about its health benefits.

The debate on whether to add fluoride to water or not has been raging for years. In countries like U.S and Canada, water fluoridation is a common practice while most of the other countries in Europe don’t fluoridate their water.

Whether to fluoridate water or not, the decision should be made with a complete understanding of public health policies.

One way to deepen your understanding of what public health policies should entail is to obtain a master’s degree in public health. Obtaining a master’s degree has become extremely easy because a lot of the institutes are now offering online courses and degrees.

Many institutes don’t even require GRE for admission into the program. If you’re working in the public health industry and want to obtain a master’s degree online without the GRE, you can search for online MPH no GRE to find the best course to upskill your credentials.

A graduate degree in public health can help you learn more about health services, community health policies, and community outreach programs. Public health experts can also rightly weigh in on the issue of water fluoridation.

To prevent side effects from excessive use of fluoride, it is important to have an understanding of its pros and cons.

1.   The Pros of Fluoridated Water

Adding an optimal amount of fluoride into public water is the simplest and easiest way to improve the public’s dental health. In 1953, American Dental Association endorsed the water fluoridation to prevent tooth decay and to reduce the public dental costs.

The primary benefit of drinking fluoridated water is that it is good for the teeth. Several studies have proven that drinking fluoridated water keeps your teeth strong and also reduces the chances of tooth decay by 25% in children.

When we eat foods high in sugar, bacteria inside our mouths produces an acid that chips away at the minerals on the teeth. This makes our teeth weaker and increases the chances of tooth cavities. Fluoride helps in remineralization of the tooth surface and also strengthens the enamel.

In addition, adding fluoride in the public drinking water is the cheapest way to ensure that the health benefits of fluoride are delivered to all irrespective of their social status, age or income.

Drinking fluoridated water can also reduce the public dental costs. It can save up to $38 in dental costs for every $1 that is invested in water fluoridation.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fluoridation of water is one of the ten most important achievements in public health during the 20th century.

2.   The Cons of Fluoridated Water

Despite the benefits of using fluoridated water, there are concerns related to its negative impacts, mainly related to excess of fluoride as well as some unethical concerns.

The critics of water fluoridation believe that government should not add fluoride in public water without people’s consent to do so. Rightfully so, people should have the right to choose whether they want their water fluoridated or not.

Because toothpastes and many foods have the fluoride already included, it is difficult to control fluoride intake. It results in excess of fluoride which can have negative impacts on our health.

Excessive fluoride in children can cause a disease called Fluorosis. Fluorosis creates white or brown stains on teeth which can make them weaker.

Many studies have proven that excessive fluoride can result in thyroid disorders as well as bone fractures. Some studies have also indicated a link between impaired brain development and excessive use of fluoridated water in children.

Fluoride works best when it is applied topically rather than when ingested. Many recent studies have indicated that fluoride should be administered directly through brushing with toothpaste rather than by ingesting it in water.


Fluoride is a chemical element known to prevent tooth decay. Many countries, including U.S and Canada, add a recommended dosage of fluoride in public water to improve the public’s dental health and reduce the dental costs throughout the population. Critics argue that fluoridation is unethical and that consent to add fluoride into the public’s water pipeline should be sought. Ingestion of excess fluoride in children can cause dental fluorosis, bone and brain development issues. On the other hand, supporters argue that fluoridation is backed by scientific research to be safe and enhances dental health. In the end, more research is needed, and providing a conclusive answer is beyond the scope of this article.

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