The issue of whether or not fluoride should be used in tap water is a serious and controversial one. Some people are for fluoridation of water as a means to fight bacteria that cause tooth decay and to strengthen teeth and bones, the other side believes that fluoride is essentially a poison and that we are exposing communities to it without a choice and that putting it in the drinking water is unethical.
What is Fluoride?
If you have ever seen an advert for toothpaste, then chances are that you have heard of fluoride.
Colgate, a leading brand in the manufacturing of dental hygiene products, explains that Fluoride is a natural mineral found throughout the earth’s crust and that it’s widely distributed in nature. Some foods and water supplies contain fluoride.
Fluoride is often added to drinking water to help reduce tooth decay. In the 1930s, researchers found that people who grew up drinking naturally fluoridated water had up to two-thirds fewer cavities than people living in areas without fluoridated water. Studies have subsequently repeatedly shown that when fluoride is added to a community’s water supply, tooth decay decreases.
It is known that most American states have fluoride added to their water supply.
Is South African Water Fluoridated?
The Department of Health has legislated that water service providers are obliged to fluoridate water to a concentration level of up to 0.7 mg F-/l as of September 2003. As at 2006, according to the Client Care Service of the Rand Water, this has not yet been implemented and they do not fluoridate water, nor does any other water utility in South Africa, says Food Facts.
According to the Department of Health, the National Fluoridation Committee is currently (2006) adapting the old and drafting some new regulations in terms of the new National Health Act. On completion of this process, the regulations will be published for commentary, after which they will be submitted to the Minister of Health for promulgation.
If your community’s water is not fluoridated and does not have enough natural fluoride in it, then your dentist or paediatrician may prescribe fluoride tablets or drops for your children to take daily. Your dentist or paediatrician can tell you how much fluoride is right for your family, so be sure to ask for his or her advice.
Make sure to have dental insurance like Affinity Dental, and you will have access to a database of dentists to choose from in your area.
Affinity Dental is one of the fastest growing dental insurance providers in South Africa.
Affinity Dental offers affordable premiums and essential benefits that will keep you smiling!