If your Maryland home connects to a community water system, there is a good chance the water you drink contains fluoride.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), municipal water systems with fluoride served more than 200 million Americans in 2018—or approximately 73 percent of the U.S. population. The U.S. aims to bump that percentage up to 77 percent by 2030.
Communities have been adding fluoride to their water systems for years because it protects teeth from decay. Fluoridation has been so successful in strengthening teeth and protecting them from cavities that the CDC named fluoridation one of the 10 best health achievements of the last century.
How Much Fluoride Do I Need?
However, high fluoride levels beyond the established standards for public water systems can lead to health risks. As a dental aid, fluoride is available from other sources, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, and even some foods.
If you are a consumer who prefers to choose when and if you ingest fluoride, Mid-Atlantic Water Services can help you remove this mineral from the drinking water in your Edgewater home. Our expert team of water treatment specialists can reduce the amount of fluoride in your tap water regardless of its source.
We test for fluoride and other minerals, chemicals, and contaminants in water from wells and municipal systems. After testing and identifying the level of fluoride in your water, we can recommend the best treatment system for your home.
Your water provider also can tell you if your tap water in Edgewater contains fluoride. Check out My Water’s Fluoride on the CDC’s website for a list of local communities that add fluoride to the public water supply.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that exists in soil, rocks, and water. Public water providers adjust the amount of fluoride in their water supply to improve dental health.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) primary drinking water regulations protect public health by limiting contaminants in community water supplies. For example, the maximum amount of fluoride allowed is 4 milligrams per liter of water, or 4 mg/L.
Municipal water systems are not allowed to exceed that amount of fluoride in the water it delivers to the public.
The EPA also sets non-enforceable guidelines, called secondary standards, for substances that might change the aesthetics of drinking water or cause cosmetic effects. For fluoride, that limit is 2 mg/L. The limit is meant to be an “upper boundary” for areas with high levels of naturally occurring fluoride, according to the EPA. Excessive exposure to fluoride can lead to discoloration in developing teeth.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the amount of fluoride needed to prevent tooth decay and avoid the risk of fluorosis is 0.7/L in a public system.
Children may risk dental fluorosis if they ingest too much fluoride before their teeth have developed. They may encounter fluoride in water, dental products such as toothpaste, dietary supplements, grape juice, raisins, and other foods.
Fluorosis symptoms can range from barely noticeable white spots on teeth to dark stains and pitted enamel. The CDC says children ages 8 and younger should not drink tap water with more than 2 mg of fluoride per liter of water. It recommends finding an alternative source of drinking water.
Mid-Atlantic Water Services can put your mind at ease and help you avoid the inconvenience of using bottled water as an alternative water source in Edgewater. Let our qualified technicians install a reverse osmosis system at the tap or a filter to reduce fluoride in your drinking water.
Other health risks from fluoride include:
- Drinking excessive amounts of fluoride—above the EPA’s maximum standard—for many years may result in skeletal fluorosis. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, fragile bones, osteoporosis, and neurological problems.
- Extremely high doses of fluoride—possibly the result of an accident in the fluoridation process—can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and death.
- Some research suggests that ingesting excessive amounts of fluoride—beyond the concentration permitted in U.S. drinking water—during early childhood may result in a low IQ and learning deficits.
The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that adding fluoride to a public water system is similar to fortifying milk with vitamin D, adding iodine to table salt, and folic acid to bread. However, some consumers want more control over the content of their drinking water.
Take Control of Your Drinking Water
At Mid-Atlantic Water Services, our priority is your health and well-being. Let us recommend a water treatment solution for your Edgewater, MD home. Call us at (443) 808-0420 or request service online.