Since the 1940’s, cities across the nation have added fluoride to their drinking water to help prevent tooth decay. Now, San Diego joins that list but, it’s an idea that’s flowing with controversy.
San Diego County is now the nation’s largest metropolitan area without fluoride in the water. But, that will soon change as Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will begin fluoridating its water supply, come October.
Dentists have long argued the benefits of fluoridated water saying it’s helps to strengthen teeth enamel and prevents tooth decay. However, opponents say fluoride in the water is hazardous to your health.
“It’s actually Hydroflusalisic acid,” explains Jeff Green from the group Citizens for Safe Drinking Water. “It’s not a treated product. It’s not a natural product at all, it comes from the phosphate fertilizer industry.
According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, the plan will expose more than 64,000 children a day to unsafe fluoride levels.
“Even if you believe in fluoride we’re talking about people being overdosed by the amount being placed in the water at this point,” said Green.
According to the CDC, about 30% of children who drink fluoridated water may have some degree of developing fluorosis, a defect of the permanent teeth resulting in dark staining and, in severe cases, substantial corrosion of the enamel.
But Dr. Parvathi Pokala of Rady Children’s Hospital believes there’s no danger.
“There’s a multitude of scientific data that supports water fluoridation is safe and effective,” says Dr. Pokala. “fluoride that you actually swallow has multiple benefits to reducing tooth decay in children.”
The first fluoridated water supply in San Diego County comes on tap October 29th.
Currently, just one San Diego city has fluoridated its water and that’s they city of Escondido.