Published on January 7th, 2011 | by Heather Carr


Too Much Fluoride in the Drinking Water

The U.S. Government is expected to reduce the recommended amount of fluoride in the drinking water after finding that 41% of kids have mild fluorosis.

Fluoride in drinking water has been used since 1945 in the U.S. About 73% of Americans have access to fluoridated water provided by their municipal water supply.

Fluoride prevents tooth decay and can be vital to the proper formation of teeth in young children. Community water fluoridation has been found to be very cost effective. Savings per person found in some studies showed a range of about $16 in communities of less than 5000 people to $19 in communities with more than 20,000.

Current recommended levels of fluoride are between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams per liter. Studies have found that these levels are safe for human consumption.

However, the recent finding that about 41% of kids have mild fluorosis is causing the federal government to decrease the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water to 0.7 mg/l.

Fluoride and Tooth Discoloration

Fluorosis is a condition which shows spottiness and discoloration in the teeth resulting from too much exposure to fluoride. Too much fluoride can even pit teeth, the opposite of what was intended when we started fluoridating public drinking water.

Kids can get fluoride from drinking water, toothpaste, and fluoride supplements. Some places have naturally-occurring fluoride in their water.

Fluoride is not the only way to prevent cavities.  Besides limiting consumption of sticky foods, studies have found that compounds in tea, wine, and even aloe vera can help prevent tooth decay.

Image by Shakespearesmonkey, used with Creative Commons permission.

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About the Author

Heather Carr loves food, politics, and innovative ways to make the world a better place. She counts Jacques Pepin and Speed Racer among her inspirations. You can find her on Facebook or .

11 Responses to Too Much Fluoride in the Drinking Water

  1. Larnhr says:

    “Current recommended levels of fluoride are between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams per liter. Studies have found that these levels are safe for human consumption.”

    Safe for human consumption? It’s a poison. Just read the label on your toothpaste.

    • Heather Carr says:

      Your point about the warning labels on toothpaste is a good one. Too much fluoride is a bad thing. In the 1940s when the fluoridation program started and the fluoride limits were set, people didn’t have access to fluoride the way we do today. That’s why the move to decrease the amount of fluoride in drinking water is necessary.

  2. Aknoepfle says:

    Interesting to note that the first countries to flouridate their water sources were Nazi germany in their
    concentration camps and the USSR in their slave labor camps in Siberia. Sodium flouride is a by product of the aluminum industry treated as hazardous waste but we put it in our drinking water. Flouride in very small amounts produces reduced IQ and creates a passive human perfect for prison settings. All flouridation needs to cease now. Flouride is only necessary and absorbed in its organic form which contains carbon-In the form Sodium flouride it is a deadly poison and that is the form we add to our drinking water.

    • Heather Carr says:

      True, sodium fluoride as an industrial byproduct, and therefore in its concentrated form, is hazardous waste. It’s a base and will burn right through skin and eat into bone.

      However, diluting it significantly, which is what we do when we fluoridate water, brings it to a level that provides more benefits than hazards.

      I don’t understand your point about fluorocarbons. Would you elaborate a bit?

      • Heather,

        Two questions for you.

        1. Can you find any non-biased studies, by that I mean not paid for by industrial companies, that point to fluoride benefits? I haven’t been able to. There seems to be no noticeable improvement after fluoridation.

        2. Would you say the same thing if we were diluting other substances instead? Things like cyanide, anthrax or pesticides. How much poison is too much?

        • Heather Carr says:

          Answering your second question first, the size of the dose is important. Many vitamins and minerals necessary to our bodies are deadly in high concentrations.

          Digoxin is a deadly toxin, fatal even in small doses, but it saves the lives of heart patients.

          Here are two studies from 2010 that indicate benefits from fluoride.

          Cury, J. A., Do Amaral, R. C., Tenuta, L. M. A., Del Bel Cury, A. A. and Tabchoury, C. P. M. (2010), Low-fluoride toothpaste and deciduous enamel demineralization under biofilm accumulation and sucrose exposure. European Journal of Oral Sciences, 118: 370–375. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.2010.00745.x

          Matthew Neidell, PhD, Karin Herzog, BA and Sherry Glied, PhD (2010), The Association Between Community Water Fluoridation and Adult Tooth Loss. American Journal of Public Health, October 2010, Vol 100, No. 10. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.189555

          • And water and oxygen can kill in high doses as well. That’s a very, very weak argument. Seems more like a distraction.

            Do you think Sodium Fluoride is a necessary mineral for our body? Pretty sure we contain 0.0000 mg of it at birth, or at least we used to before 1945. Which tells me we shouldn’t be adding any.

            The first study you quote is from Brazil. Who knows who pays for those studies. The last sentence of it’s abstract says “The findings suggest that the high-F availability in biofilm, resulting from the use of conventional toothpaste compared with low-F toothpaste, may be important for reducing caries-lesion progression in conjunction with a high frequency of sucrose exposure.”

            MAY BE. Meaning we don’t know for sure. It’s also only considering situations with high levels of sugar exposure.

            The 2nd study overlays a TELEPHONE health survey with community fluoride levels to ESTIMATE a regression model of tooth loss.


            How about this. If you want Fluoride and want to give it to your family, then you buy it at the store and supplement. Those in low economic classes can get a special voucher for Fluoride toothpaste. Subsidizing that will be way cheaper than buying Fluoride from China and shipping it here. Those of us who don’t want it then don’t have to have it.

            Since the same Sodium Fluoride was used by the Nazi’s to sterilize Jews in concentration camps, how many generations will it take before your family tree is sterile?

  3. It’s amazing the faith we place in the government and what they do! Tests done decades ago between two cities (one had fluoride in water the other none) showed similar results! Both cities experienced similar amount of cavities as well as osteoporosis by doctor and dentists! Yet, they have failed to remove all traces of fluoride since it is not beneficial whatsoever. In the entire world 2-3 countries use it and it’s not for what they state. But then again it’s very expensive to get rid of poisons so why not make people drink them. Try this: Buy a distiller and see what you get in a gallon of water. You will never drink tap water, or “spring” water again!!!

  4. More than 3,260 professionals (including over 290 dentists) urge the US Congress to stop water fluoridation citing scientific evidence that fluoridation, long promoted to fight tooth decay, is ineffective and has serious health risks. See statement: http://www.fluorideaction.org/statement.august.2007.html

  5. Mrs. Life says:

    Very interesting. The tea and wine for the prevention of tooth discoloration is the trivia for me on this one.

    • Heather Carr says:

      Tea and wine surprised me, too. We hear so much about staining and then we find that they’re good for healthy teeth.

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