Should fluoride be added to your drinking water?  More local water companies are skipping it.

An American Water official said West Shore customers have fluoride in the water, but Hershey area customers don’t. Later this month, a Franklin County community will join them.

For about 70 years, fluoride has been added to drinking water to prevent tooth decay.

“A lot of times that dental decay can be reduced by 25 percent over the lifetime of a patient,” Dr. Ethan Drake of Drake Orthodontics said.

In Guilford Township, Franklin County, the water will stop being fluoridated on April 18.

A statement on the Guilford Water Authority’s website reads, “an increase in the awareness of potential issues that could affect our health has led some water companies to stop putting fluoride into their water and some countries have since banned this practice.”

Calls to the water authority were not returned.

Drake had meetings with them.

“They claim that it causes a lot of anything from atherosclerosis, heart disease, problems with your thyroid gland, problems with your penial gland, problems with IQ, even,” Drake said.

Drake said the worst thing too much fluoride can do is discolor your teeth.

“Fluoride naturally occurs in all the water, it’s very safe,” he said. “It’s never been associated with any disease.”

Drake said removing fluoride from water is detrimental to dental health.

“You may have seven or eight more cavities in your life, but that’s seven or eight more times you have a drill in your mouth, a needle in your mouth, more fillings to pay for,” he said. “If we could prevent that, which this is a very preventable disease, that’s why we want to do this because we’re trying to increase everybody’s quality of life.”

Government agencies do not require fluoride in water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 45 percent of Pennsylvanians do not have fluoridated water. For those people, Drake recommends fluoride tablets or fluoridated bottles of water.

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