We know that fluoride is the most common ingredient found in our toothpaste and mouthwash at home through countless oral-care tv commercials, but did you know that our drinking water also contains an optimal level of fluoride?
Drinking fluoridated water prevents tooth decay and cavities and helps maintain good oral hygiene. Still, health-conscious people are worried about having fluoride in their water supply, which makes them wonder, “do water filters remove fluoride?”
The answer is yes. High-caliber filters with NSF certification against fluoride can effectively strip fluoride from your water supply. In this article, I will discuss the effects of fluoride in your drinking water and how you can filter it effectively.
Table of Contents
- What Is Fluoride and Why Is It Important?
- What Does Fluoride Do in Drinking Water?
- Is Fluoride Harmful?
- How to Remove Fluoride From Drinking Water?
- Do Refrigerator Filters Remove Fluoride?
What Is Fluoride and Why Is It Important?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral. It is the 13th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and is usually released from rocks, soil, plants, air, and other local water sources.
Fluoride plays a vital role in the mineralization of bones and teeth. It contains chemical properties that help protect tooth enamel from acids.
What Does Fluoride Do in Drinking Water?
Fluoride provides a protective barrier against acid-producing bacteria present in our water supply. When fluoride becomes chemically incorporated, it reduces the incidence of dental decay by approximately 25% for children and adults.
Drinking fluoridated water helps remove plaque-forming bacteria from tooth enamel that cause painful infections and lead to severe gum diseases.
Fluoride was first added to drinking water in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945 after scientists discovered its remineralizing effect. The US Public Health Service endorsed Community water fluoridation in 1950.
In 1960, community water fluoridation became a policy. In the years since then, many communities have adopted water fluoridation to improve oral health.
Is Fluoride Harmful?
Over the past decades, public water fluoridation has become ingrained in different communities in the US. Water has been the dietary source of fluoride, but it sparks controversy and debates about its possible health effects.
According to experts, excessive ingestion of fluoride is harmful and can lead to numerous health problems. As a result, homeowners use high-quality water filters to remove fluoride from drinking water.
Here are some of the health risks linked to fluoridated water :
- Fluoride in the water supply is lethal in high dosages. But even in small amounts, it can still pose health risks such as thyroid issues, bone fractures, and cognitive development.
- According to the ADA (American Dental Association), we should use fluoride topically to improve our oral health (eg. toothpaste, mouth rinse, varnish, gel). Fluoride ingestion is detrimental because it is a cumulative poison.
If we ingest too much fluoride, we run the risk of developing a condition called skeletal fluorosis. 98 percent of the fluoride we ingest from drinking water circulates throughout the bloodstream. The accumulation of fluoride will then trigger calcification, leading to weaker bones.
- Excessive fluoride exposure is hazardous. Children aged 8 and below are at a higher risk of developing dental fluorosis because this is when their permanent teeth are developing.
The optimal level of fluoride added to our home water is less than 1 mg per liter, and it does not cause dental fluorosis.
How to Remove Fluoride From Drinking Water?
To eliminate fluoride from your home water, you should choose a top-tier water filter that removes fluoride:
1. Reverse Osmosis System
Reverse Osmosis systems are known to be the most effective yet cost-efficient fluoridated water treatment method. An RO filter has a pore size of about 0.0001-micron that allows water molecules to flow easily.
It removes 85-92% of fluoride and other harmful contaminants like lead and sulfates from your water supply.
2. Gravity-fed water filters
As the name implies, gravity-fed water filters use the pulling force of gravity to move the water down while they process it. Gravity-fed filters are one of the low-cost and most portable water purification technologies.
A gravity filter is a twin-tank device that comprises two chambers: the upper chamber, where you pour the fluoridated water, and the lower chamber, where we dispense the readily available filtered water. The thick mesh media filter separates these two chambers.
3. Water Distiller System
A water distiller system is a smart option for you to filter out fluoride from your tap water effectively. The average price of this filtration system is approximately 70 dollars to 100 dollars, making it far more economical than most standard water filters that would require regular cartridge replacement.
Distiller systems are superior at fluoride removal. How do they work? All you need to do is heat the unfiltered water to separate it from fluoride and other mineral components. Then collect the steam to yield fresh-tasting fluoride-free water.
The only downside of using a distiller is that it doesn’t remove chlorine and VOCs from water, which in turn, can make your water a bit acidic.
4. Activated Alumina
Activated Alumina is a porous, solid form of aluminum oxide – usually white, circular beads in appearance. It is the only filter that is specifically designed to remove fluoride, arsenic, and lead from water.
The high adsorption and stable physical properties of Activated Alumina make it one of the most superior and relevant water filtration processes up to this date to reduce fluoride levels down from 2 ppm to 0.1 ppm.
5. Bone Char Filters
Bone char filters are the oldest water purification method, yet they still serve their purpose today. They can dislodge about 90-95 % of fluoride from water.
A bone char filter also has a very porous surface that absorbs and reduces heavy metals and radioactive elements. If you’re cutting down household expenses, this filter is the cheapest option for you.
Do Refrigerator Filters Remove Fluoride?
Generally no. Like fridge filters, most pitcher filters don’t filter fluoride from water. Most fridge filters use an activated carbon medium, which is ineffective at removing fluoride from drinking water.
But there are few brands (rare) that are effective, such as AquaGear Water Pitcher Filter and Clearly Filtered. These pitcher filters provide a competitive fluoride removal performance because they meet purification standards.
We can benefit from the protective properties of fluoride present in our tap water. In short, drinking fluoridated water keeps our teeth healthy, but too much fluoride exposure is not good either. That is why we also have to filter it from water. Do water filters remove fluoride?
Yes. There are types of water filters that do and others that don’t. Before buying one, always determine other contaminants present in your water because fluoride is not the only substance we should be wary of.