Fluorides: A Benefit to Teeth Health Essay Sample

Fluorides: A Benefit to Teeth Health Pages
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Fluoridating water is a highly debated topic in almost every county in the United States. Since 1945, fluoride has been added to city tap water for the benefit of dental health. Studies show that this addition to drinking water decreases the chances of dental cavities and provides this health service for lower income people who may not otherwise be able to afford and maintain their dental health. Many states require that the tap water in every county must be checked and maintained daily. Even though all these benefits are present with full support and endorsement from dental doctors and health professionals, some counties are still uncertain about fluoridating water. They believe that since fluoride is toxic to the human body in large doses, the substance is not safe in any amount for human consumption. Although some counties have successfully banned fluoride from their tap water, their reasons for doing so are unfounded and a detriment to their people’s health. Safety and longevity is everyone’s goal, therefore, fluoride in tap water is beneficial to every person’s health. Teeth health is very important to the well-being of humans.

When the health of teeth fails, problems ensue in the rest of the body. Pain, heart and respiratory problems, and osteoporosis are some of the problems endured due to improper maintenance of teeth. Studies from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that “dental carries remain a major public health problem in most industrialized countries, affecting 60-90% of school children and vast majorities of adults” (Peterson, 319). Since so many people are affected by dental carries, many people are also susceptible to the more severe health defects that tooth decay contributes to. The WHO also stresses that the community if responsible for educating themselves and others about the importance of limiting sugar consumption and the health benefits of fluorides (Peterson, 320). To alleviate and help prevent a substantial percent of communities from these disorders, fluoride is put into drinking water. The idea behind this decision is that fluoride helps protect tooth enamel and even goes as far as to restore the tooth enamel that has been lost. Tooth paste containing fluoride is recommended by dentists and supported by health professionals for its ability to maintain healthy teeth.

Many dentists know the possible detriments that bad teeth can cause a person; therefore, in recent years, “the [Centers for Disease Control] proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century,” eluding to the fact that fluoride in drinking water is no mistake (Crozier). Studies by the University of York Centre in the UK reveal that fluoridating water has reduced dental carries by 15% (Peterson, 320). With the addition of fluoride to drinking water, people are better equipped to prevent damage of their overall health. One factor that makes the fluoridation of drinking water such a great achievement is that the essential health maintenance is available to everyone, even those who unfortunately cannot afford any sort of health insurance. Adding fluoride to tap water, not only aids in a person day to day, unconscious decision to prevent dental cavities, but it also is a cost effective way to provide this health benefit to all people in each county that chooses to fluoridate their water. In the past few years, Pinellas County has only spent $0.30 per person to fluoridate the community’s tap water (Fluoride).

This miniscule cost allows for this great health benefit to be affordable, available, and appealing. Since every county has regulations on their tap water, their concern is for the health of the people drinking that water. In every participating community, the county regulates the fluorine levels and stresses that the tap water is checked on a monthly, and sometimes daily, basis for fluctuations and contaminates of all toxins. The safe level of fluoride in water for the body is 2 mg/L. This number is maintained even though no health detriments have been recorded below 8 mg/L (Is Fluoride Good to Have in Drinking Water?). Many counties in Florida are debating whether to continue fluoridation of their tap water. Even with the support of numerous health professionals, many people are apprehensive about the fluoridation, seeing as only “[six] communities have voted to retain their fluoridation programs…” and only “two communities have voted to initiate fluoridation” (Crozier). One county in Florida, Pinellas, has been indecisive about continuing the fluoridation in the past few years.

In December 2011, “the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners opted to stop fluoridating the water supplied to some county residents,” affecting at least 700,000 people (Crozier). When they announced this change on their utility website in October of 2011, they simply stated that the board made this decision and there are no plans to revisit the idea of fluoridating the tap water in the future (Fluoride). Since the county board is vague about their decision to stop fluoridation, many people are left to wonder why their fluoridation was stopped, even though their surrounding counties continue the process. Not even a year after the fluoridation has stopped, “[a] few of the affected communities in the county are actively working to bring fluoridation back to their residents” (Cozier). In addition to Florida, Phoenix, Arizona is also debating whether they should continue fluoridating their tap water. Their debate came about because a woman was concerned that the fluoride in her water would irritate her thyroid problem.

Ultimately, Phoenix decided to continue their fluoridation because they believe that the addition brings great health benefits for their people (Forsythe). Both communities in Florida and Arizona that choose to fluoridate their water are supported by the World Health Organization, given that they have not found any links between fluoride in drinking water and “adverse health effects” (Peterson, 320). People argue that fluoride is toxic to the human body and will cause many health problems; therefore, they fight for fluoride to be taken out of drinking water. For fluoride to be toxic to the human body, the dosage would have to greatly exceed 8 mg/L. The argument includes that fluoride causes major health detriments, including multiple bone diseases, even when it is maintained between the recommended dosages. One ailment includes dental fluorosis in children; this is caused by exposure of certain concentrations of fluoride to developing teeth. This usually leaves permanent marks on the teeth, starting out white and gradually turning brown over time. Dentists acknowledge this to be true and they caution parents to limit their child’s exposure to fluoride as their teeth are developing.

The notion that water should not be fluoridated because fluoride is a toxin to the human body is irrelevant. Fluoride is not the only toxic substance that is added to tap water. Many known toxins are added to tap water for different reasons, all to ensure that the water is safe to drink. One such toxin is chlorine, which is added to help control microbes in the water. In comparison to fluoride, chlorine also has unwanted side effects when it is not maintained accurately, such as eye and ear irritation, along with stomach pain (Drinking Water Contaminants). Yet again, the benefits outweigh the risks, and a substance that is considered toxic to the human body is put into drinking water for the safety and health of everyone.

The Environmental Protection Agency has put in place the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations that “legally enforceable standards that apply to public water systems;” therefore, they actively regulate the contaminate levels in water (Drinking Water Contaminants). Even though fluoride and chlorine are considered toxic to the human body, at the right concentrations, they are extremely successful at keeping people healthy and alive. Overall, any person aware of the process of fluoridating water is ultimately concerned about the human body’s health. People argue that fluoride has been known to cause harm and should be avoided, while others rely on fluoride greatly for the benefits it brings to everyone, no matter their circumstance. In the end, the EPA is responsible for keeping drinking water contaminates at a safe level, and as long as they do their job, the level of toxins in drinking water is there for every person’s benefit.

Bibliography

Crozier, Stacie. “The State of Fluoridation – After 67 Years, Challenges Continue Across Nation.” States News Service [Maryland] 16 July 2012: n. pag. General OneFile. Web. 22 Sept. 2012.

“Drinking Water Contaminants.” Environmental Protection Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm>. “Fluoride.” Pinellas County Utilities. N.p., Oct. 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/fluoridation.htm>. Forsythe, Jerilyn. “One Woman’s Curiosity Reopens Water Fluoridation Debate in Phoenix.”AZFamily. N.p., 4 Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Sept. 2012.

“Is Fluoride Good to Have in Drinking Water?” Is Fluoride Good to Have in Drinking Water? N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2012. <http://fluorideinfo.org/>. Peterson, Poul, and Michael Lennon. “Effective Use of Fluorides for the Prevention of Dental Carries in the 21st Century: The WHO Approach.” Community Dentistry and Oral
Epidemiology (2004) 319-21. Wiley. Web. 20 Sept. 2012.

Annotated Bibliography
Crozier, Stacie. “The State of Fluoridation – After 67 Years, Challenges Continue Across Nation.” States News Service [Maryland] 16 July 2012: n. pag. General OneFile. Web. 22 Sept. 2012.

Fluoridation of water, although supported by many health professionals, is starting to have bad reputation with the public. Counties are stopping fluoridation of their tap water, which leaves many doctors to fight for the fluoridation of tap water due to its benefits. This article details what health professionals are saying and doing to support fluoridating water. “Drinking Water Contaminants.” Environmental Protection Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm>. This website is produced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and this certain page entails what concentrations of substances that are present and added to drinking water, along with its side effects. “Fluoride.” Pinellas County Utilities. N.p., Oct. 2011. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. <http://www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/fluoridation.htm>. This website informs the Pinellas County community about its decision to discontinue the fluoridation of their tap water. They simply state that their decision to discontinue the fluoridation was the result of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners’ decision. The change is effective December 31, 2011.

Forsythe, Jerilyn. “One Woman’s Curiosity Reopens Water Fluoridation Debate in Phoenix.”AZFamily. N.p., 4 Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Sept. 2012.
This website details one woman’s concern in Phoenix, Arizona about the further health problems she would encounter because of the fluoride in the drinking water and her thyroid problem. Her curiosity re-opened the debate about whether they wanted to continue fluoridating the water. Their ultimate decision was to continue because they believe fluoride is just as essential as Vitamin C in milk. “Is Fluoride Good to Have in Drinking Water?” Is Fluoride Good to Have in Drinking Water? N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2012.
<http://fluorideinfo.org/>. Fluorideinfo.org details why fluoride is beneficial in drinking water. It specifics what concentrations are acceptable for the human body. Peterson, Poul, and Michael Lennon. “Effective Use of Fluorides for the Prevention of Dental Carries in the 21st Century: The WHO Approach.” Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology (2004) 319-21. Wiley. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. This article references studies conducted by the World Health Organization. They address adverse effects of fluoride in water and provide date that shows that fluoride is beneficial in drinking water.

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