Since the mid 1960’s, fluoridation of drinking water has been a routine practice in much of the US. Drinking water is purified to the point that it is safe for drinking in water treatment plants, after which chlorine is added to kill germs and slightly less than 1 part per million of fluoride is added to slow the rate of tooth decay in children. According to the American Dental Association, water fluoridation reaches just over 200 million US citizens. Water fluoridation was coined one of the United States’ crowning achievements in 1999, because it provided a huge and undeniable reduction is what was before an epidemic of cavities and tooth decay.
When compared to other health measures carried out in the United States, water fluoridation has proven to be one of the safest and most cost efficient public services ever provided. It has not been without controversy, however. While the dental health benefits of fluoride are proven, there are some people who still filter their water to rid it of chemicals such as fluoride. Their concerns range from civil liberties issues to the fear of the potential harmful effects of fluoride that have been documented when it is given at much, much higher dosages.