Home > Preventative Maintenance > Is Water Fluoridation Really Beneficial?

Is Water Fluoridation Really Beneficial?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 14 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Water Fluoridation Benefits Teeth

Water fluoridation is a controversial topic around the world but more recently so in the UK, where calls have been made to add fluoride to the water supplies with the aim of addressing tooth decay.

But on the other hand, those who oppose the idea cite that we still don't know the long-term effects of water fluoridation. For this reason, we shouldn't add fluoride to the water supplies – at least not until we know more about any risks or long-term health problems related to its use in drinking water.

Benefits of Water Fluoridation

Those who support water fluoridation include a number of people from the medical field, particularly dentists. They believe water fluoridation is an effective way of enhancing public dental health.

In England, water is already fluoridated to some extent. Roughly around ten percent is fluoridated and the aim is to prevent the occurrence of tooth decay. In fact, even the aim is specific in that it's geared at children and those who don't brush their teeth on a regular basis.

In places such as the United States, most water is fluoridated and has been for decades. No health problems have been substantiated from the water fluoridation there yet either. In fact, there have been many benefits reported in terms of improved dental health and a reduction in dental caries – also known as dental cavities.

Those who support water fluoridation believe we owe it to children and those in deprived areas who don't brush their teeth regularly to intervene in ways that improve dental health. However, critics see this as an intervention that benefits a minority but causes the majority to be subject to the effects too, which is considered unfair and unhealthy.

Concerns About Water Fluoridation

Those who are against water fluoridation argue that we need to conduct a great deal more research into the effects of water fluoridation, particularly the long-term ones. Some believe that water fluoridation can increase risks of diseases such as cancer as well as contributing to infertility and thinning bones. However, there is no evidence to confirm these findings as of yet.

There is one claim against water fluoridation that does have some validity though. Excessive exposure of teeth to fluoride has been linked to a condition whereby teeth become discoloured. This is known as fluorosis but it's thought that water fluoridation would generally not cause fluorosis in most of the general public.

Some organisations also argue that water fluoridation goes against human rights to refuse medical treatment. They see water fluoridation as a medical intervention that is being forced on people.

Weighing the Facts

For now, it seems that there should at least be a public debate before any key measures are implemented in terms of water fluoridation. We all have a right to offer input and public safety must be safeguarded. Still, dental decay is a huge problem in Britain and if water fluoridation does have the potential to help in this area, it would be unwise not to consider its use.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Zee
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Hi Since i had root canal done has caused me lot of doenside on my health evdn though i look after myself and diet. Recently i have had lump…
    15 February 2019
  • Sue
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Like Ann, I have also read the What Doctors Don't Tell You article on Ozone dental treatment and would like to find a dentist in the London…
    24 January 2019
  • Sha
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    I live in Dorset and want to know the nearest dentist that will treat my receding gums with ozone treatment . A honest dentist as I’ve had…
    10 November 2018
  • Ann
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Do you know any dentists in London or outer London who use ozone to kill bacteria in teeth and gums please? 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' has…
    28 October 2018
  • nicola
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Hi I am looking for a dentist that uses ozone therapy in the south west pf England. Is there a list anywhere?
    12 April 2018
  • Dri
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    I extracted the tooth to 1 month ago and it is not healing before the ectration I took 3 boxes of amoxiline and after the extraction two more…
    15 November 2017
  • DiU
    Re: Effect of Dentures on Digestion
    @Bunty - you never think about the problems that dentures can cause. You've completely put me off having any even after…
    30 October 2017
  • Bunty
    Re: Effect of Dentures on Digestion
    Hi, I have had partial dentures for 18 months and can't cope, at all, with them! They fall out, bouncing about and I can't eat…
    28 October 2017
  • Kat
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    I have a 'pocket' in my low jaw bone below a crowned molar. The tooth is starting to be sore and I am having early signs of infection. My…
    20 July 2017
  • Ches
    Re: Effect of Dentures on Digestion
    I had dental transplants done 2 yrs ago.....lower only....I have had to have them refitted twice with new sockets.....at the…
    3 April 2017