How Much Fluoride Is In Your Water?

fluoride in water, thyroid effects of fluoride, fluoridation, fluoridated water

The issue of fluoride, and its health effects, has been a controversy for decades. Pro-fluoridation forces point to dental benefits of adding fluoride to the water supply. At the same time, some health experts are concerned about negative health effects of fluoride, particularly with regard to the thyroid. 

Let's explore some basic information on fluoride and look at resources that will help you determine how much fluoride is in your water and whether you should be concerned.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral, and it is found naturally in soil, air, and water. The levels of fluoride that are naturally-occurring in water are typically not high enough to have an impact on tooth decay. To that end, some states or local municipalities add fluoride to the water supply, to help prevent tooth decay and reduce the risk of cavities. 

At present, pro-fluoridation scientists recognize one unwanted side effect of fluoridation: dental fluorosis. Fluorosis is a discoloration in the dental enamel that can develop in children exposed to fluoride. The risk of fluorosis goes up with exposure to higher levels of fluoride.

To understand more about the issue of fluoride and safe in the drinking water, here are some resources:

The Fluoride Controversy

The link between fluoride and the thyroid is a controversy that has continued for several decades. While the dental community and municipal water authorities promote the benefits of fluoridated water in fighting tooth decay, other experts have concerns regarding the impact fluoride may have on thyroid health and thyroid function, and claim that excessive fluoride exposure can slow thyroid function, or in some cases cause hypothyroidism. These experts point to fluoride's past use as a thyroid-slowing medication for hyperthyroidism as one area of concern. 

Here are some resources that explore the controversy over the relationship between fluoride and thyroid disease:

How Much Fluoride Is Safe?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "National survey data show that prevention of tooth decay can be maintained at the recommended level of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of drinking water. This recommended level updates and replaces the previously recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter."

How Much Fluoride Is In Your Water?

The best source of information on fluoride levels in your water system is your local water utility. All water utilities must provide their consumers with a Consumer Confidence Report that provides information on a system's water quality, including its fluoridation level.

Your state drinking water administrator or state oral health program also should be able to help you identify the fluoride level of your drinking water.

You can also use the CDC's Fluoridation search page, called My Water's Fluoride. Not all states, however, are listed on the CDC's page.

Finally, FluorideAlert maintains a state-by-state list of information pages, discussing fluoridation levels and news for each state.

What About Bottled Water?

Bottled water frequently has lower fluoride levels, or is unfluoridated, compared to municipal water supplies. If you are interested in lowering your fluoride intake by drinking bottled water, you may be interested in finding bottled water companies that don't use fluoridated water.

Was this page helpful?