Why Is Fluoride In Water And How To Remove It

Fluoride is everywhere - from your tap water to your toothpaste. But over exposure to fluoride can be extremely dangerous to you and your family's health. The effects can range from your teeth getting discolored to the more adverse weakening of bones. This article will look into how fluoride gets in your tap water, and what steps can you take to protect your family from the adverse effects of fluoride.

How Does Fluoride Make Its Way To Water?

While being present in soil and water sources, the overwhelming reason behind fluoride’s presence in our water sources is due to ‘fluoridation.’

Fluoridation is a government implemented scheme of adding fluoride to municipal water supplies, to improve the population's dental health.

fluoride faucet

Countries all over the world, including the United States of America, United Kingdom, and Australia, implement fluoridation as part of their public welfare. In addition to fluoridation, well water is also known to contain a substantial amount of fluoride.

What Are The Risks Associated With Fluoride?

Fluoride protects your teeth from decaying off (by either remineralization or demineralization) and has been proven to improve the local population's dental health as a whole. However, there are people that are against fluoridation by the government.

Overexposure to fluoride can be bad for your health, and can lead to severe diseases such as dental fluorosis or skeletal fluorosis – which can damage bones and joints.

Here are some of the risks extreme exposure to fluoride can cause:

Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is more of an appearance-tainting disease that causes a discoloration of the teeth. Children who are exposed to high amount of fluoride are more prone to this disease, and their teeth will feature minuscule white strips or specks in the enamel of the tooth.

Skeletal Fluorosis

A more severe form of fluorosis that inflicts pain and damage on bones and joints, skeletal fluorosis also results from extended exposure to fluoride. People suffering from skeletal fluorosis experience hardened and fracture-prone bones devoid of elasticity, which may eventually lead to impaired joint mobility.

Neurological Issues

Several reports have stated excessive exposure to fluoride as a cause behind lagging cognitive outcomes. The cognitive ability of children exposed to higher level of fluoride fared worse, than those that were exposed to lesser levels of fluoride, on the standard Intelligence Quotient tests.

How To Remove Fluoride From Water

If your municipal is also mandated by the state to add fluoride to the water supply, there isn’t much you can you do, except 3 options:

  • Install a water filter with activated alumina - Activated alumina, also known as aluminium oxide, generally has a high surface-area-to-weight ratio and is saturated with pores. Upon interacting with water, the metal attracts fluoride in the water, filtering it out. 
  • Install a RO system  - A reverse osmosis (RO) system relies on a semi-permeable membrane with pores that allow water to pass through while filtering out many kinds of molecules including fluoride.
  • Purchase a water distillation unit - By heating water to form steam; followed by condensing it, a water distillation unit produces fluoride-free and purified water. 

These filters ensure that the fluoride content in your water is eliminated by at least 90%. In contrast, ‘activated carbon’ or ‘whole house’ filters are not made to remove fluoride. Likewise, water distillation plants are also effective in removing fluoride, although they may be an expensive option depending upon your required size.