Should fluoride be in our drinking water?

You may have heard that Pinellas County will soon be taking fluoride out of its drinking water to due to a vote by County Commissioners (4-3) to have it removed. What you may not be aware of is that taking fluoride out of our drinking water will cause long term health issues, will cost taxpayers millions of dollars annually, and that this vote looks to set off a domino effect, with other Bay area counties looking to follow suit, including our very own Hillsborough County.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering what is fluoride, why is it in our water, and why should you care?

What is fluoride and why is it in our drinking water?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element. It is found in rocks and soil everywhere, in fresh and ocean waters. In fact, waters in and around the United States have natural fluoride levels that range from 0.1 parts per million to over 12 parts per million.

Around the 1940’s scientist discovered that when they added, or increased levels of fluoride in and to drinking water supplies, they saw an average of a sixty percent decrease in tooth decay, and an overall increase in better dental hygiene. It was mainstreamed around the 1960’s, being added to the water of largely populated cities, and now can be found in the majority of drinking water supplies across the United States.

Is it harmful to our bodies?

No. There is over fifty years of data backing up that fluoride in our drinking water is not harmful to our bodies. Leading scientists, health professionals, and government officials around the world not only see the benefit of having fluoride in our drinking water, they support it and have helped mainstream adding fluoride to drinking water, particularly in third world countries where access to healthcare is not always an option.

Who benefits from it being in our water?

We all do. But moreover, having fluoride in our drinking water is one of the few ways we help those who really need it. The bottom line is, especially in this day and age, and particularly in this economy, health and dental care doesn’t come cheap. A vast majority of the general population is ignoring their health, and their teeth, because they just can’t afford the cost of care. Having fluoride in our water helps protect those who truly need it, and it pays off in the long run. To have fluoride in the water costs Pinellas County a mere $205,000 annually. When you factor in time missed from work, school, and cost paid by tax payers for those who end up seeking medical attention for severe dental emergencies, that could have been prevented by the fluoridation of water, the United States will spend an average of $3.87 billion dollars annually for the treatment of oral disease, a cost that can dramatically decrease by keeping fluoride in our drinking water and will dramatically rise if we take it out.

Why are people pushing to get it out?

In Pinellas county, where fluoride was only introduced seven years ago, reasoning to get it out of the drinking water ranges from cost (although, again, it only costs $205,000 annually to keep it in, compared to the millions in dollars that will be paid by tax dollars due to dental emergencies that will arise from taking it out), to keeping our government from controlling our minds. That’s right – some people believe this beneficial compound in our water is solely there to control our minds. Sounds like a valid argument to you, right?

So how do we keep it in?

It is important that you let your city commissioners know that you want to keep fluoride in our drinking water. Doing your own research to make a definitive decision is highly recommended, but make sure that what you are reading is backed up by scientific evidence and reputable sources. Just like with any “hot button issues,” there are quite a few sites and making claims that have absolutely no scientific or factual backing whatsoever, so” buyer beware!”

Want to voice your opinion on Twitter? Send Hillsborough County Commissioners, Mark Sharpe and Kevin Beckner a Tweet: @MarkSharpeFL @Kbeckner @

And when in doubt, ask your dentist or health care provider. There is no better person to steer you in what is best for you, and your health, than your primary care doctor and dentist!

What do you think about removing fluoride from our water systems?