Is fluoridated drinking water safe for your family?

Is fluoridated drinking water safe for your family?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named fluoridated water as one of the 10 greatest health achievements of the last century. Early in the 1900s scientists discovered that fluoride—a naturally occurring element—that appeared in greater concentrations in drinking water supplies was connected to a lower rate of tooth decay in those areas. So in 1945, many communities began adding fluoride to their drinking supplies.

Today, over 60 percent of the U.S. population drinks fluoridated water, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The issue is that research from the National Toxicology Program surfaced in the 90s that showed a relationship between fluoride and an increased incidence of bone cancer in male lab rats. Since that time, studies have not found conclusive evidence linking fluoride to incidences of bone cancer in humans. Still, many communities and families are concerned, especially regarding the effects that fluoridated water may have on children.

A statement from the American Dental Association states that “Studies conducted throughout the past 60 years have consistently indicated that fluoridation of community water supplies is safe and effective in preventing dental decay in both children and adults. It is the most efficient way to prevent one of the most common childhood diseases—tooth decay.”

Parents who are concerned about fluoridated drinking water should contact their local municipal water departments who would know the level of fluoride contained in the water supply. Further, since many types of toothpaste are fluoridated, parents should make sure to give small children a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with which to brush, and make sure they spit it out after brushing to prevent ingestion.

According to Jennifer DeBruler, an internal medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group, “Even though research has shown that there may not be a tie between fluoride in drinking water and cancer, people do have alternatives—such as buying their own non-fluoridated drinking water—if they are concerned.”


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  1. I am SO happy to see more attention placed on the dangers of ingesting flouride- something that I am very passionate about. Thanks for the article!

    • Brenda,

      The article says exactly the opposite of that. There are, in fact, no dangers associated with fluorinated water. The headline was simply sensationalist and should have immediately been followed up with, “Yes, it is safe.”

      Good scientific studies can be replicated, and the aforementioned one involving male rats and bone cancer has not been able to be reproduced. That means that is incredibly unlikely that the fluorinated water was to blame for the increased incidence of bone cancer in those specific rats.

      It is important to be skeptical in life, but disregarding science is not being skeptical; it’s being obstinate. I mean no personal offense, but it’s the same line of thinking that led to this:

      Lastly, (and this is not directed towards you Brenda, rather I am pointing at the author) I am disappointed and ashamed that this sort of lowest-common-denominator sensationalist styled article is associated with a nationally renowned health care system.

      We are a system based on evidence-based practice and should only host articles that adhere stringently to proper scientific research. Otherwise, members of the public might come across this sort of junk reporting and assume that our institutions are also ignorant of current research. This is not the only example, simply the most recent.

      Thank you Brenda and Josh for considering and reflecting on what I had to say.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.