RENO, Nev. — At its peak every summer, 100 million gallon of water are treated and filtered through Washoe County every day.
The water looks normal, but a chemical flowing down south is absent.
Dr. Erin Anderson of Brosy Family Dentistry says in the past five years, cavities in the US are going down as fluoridated water goes up. “Having our fluoride in our water system is all about prevention. “It’s getting to areas with no access to dental care, not access to really a tooth brush or getting your teeth cleaned.”
Across state water systems, the chemical is only in Clark County. Anderson said in rural Nevada, between a lack of dentists and a lack of the water additive, children may not get enough to sustain healthy teeth.
Inside Brosy Family Dentistry, most children receive a fluoride treatment with each appointment. “Your teeth naturally get holes in them as they are developing and fluoride just provides an extra mineral.”
Dr. Michael Gerber of the Gerber Medical Clinic in Reno has fought fluoride use among dentists and families for almost 35 years. “Fluoride is toxic. It’s a neurological toxin, it’s a gut toxin.”
He said you can argue fluoride breaks down bacteria, but poses a larger health risk than alternative medicines. Also, the chemical can cause pre-term births and lower IQ’s in children along with dental fluorosis which causes brown spots on your teeth.
Anderson agrees there is such thing as too much of the product. “You’ll see it, it’s staining on the front of their teeth. There are products that have too much fluoride that naturally have too much fluoride in their systems.”
But she said the benefits of fluoride outweigh what she calls the minimal dangers.
Truckee Meadows Water Authority Manager of Operations Paul Miller said it will cost $4-6 million to install a fluoridation system. It would also increase user bills by up to $1.50 per month.
Voters rejected plans to fluoridate the Washoe County Water supply in 2002. It was also struck down by lawmakers in 2009. “We’re already getting too much, you can’t avoid it in the food supply,” said Gerber. “Adding additional in not a rational thing to do to the rest of the body.”