Q:

What are the pros and cons of fluoridated drinking water?

A:

Quick Answer

Some pros of drinking water with fluoride in it are fewer cavities, less tooth decay and less tooth pain due to tooth decay, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The only negative consequence of fluoridated water that scientific evidence supports is dental fluororis, a condition that causes changes in the appearance of the teeth.

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Full Answer

Fluoride is a mineral that communities add to the water supply to prevent tooth decay, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It works by remineralizing teeth after harmful bacteria removes teeth minerals. Fluoridated water is successful in significantly decreasing the incidence of tooth decay. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends using .7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of drinking water to receive the beneficial results while reducing the risk of dental fluorosis.

The cause of fluorosis is overexposure to fluoride, especially when a person is young and forming permanent teeth, reports WebMD. For most people, the condition is not severe, and the most common symptom is white markings that a dentist might observe. In more severe cases, the teeth can be yellow or brown and contain surface irregularities. Fluorosis can range from very mild to severe. The majority of cases are mild, and fewer than 1 percent of cases are severe.

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