As one travels around the world, especially in developing countries, the state of oral health stands out as an issue that needs attention. Fluoride treatment of drinking water can be an important step in improving oral health (1), but some populations may find it’s not necessary because they may already be consuming adequate or even too much fluoride daily.
Careful review of fluoride exposure must be evaluated region by region before deciding to treat local water with fluoride (2). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), flouride intake can vary depending fluoride already in water, on diet and other variables such as local pollution (2).
Areas of greater volcanic activity, for example, tend have highest concentrations of fluoride in groundwater (2). The act of tea drinking can provide significant amounts of fluoride (1). In parts of China where high-fluoride coal is burned, the ash that pollutes crops may be providing fluoride (2). And in Tanzania, the use of contaminated trona to tenderize vegetables contributes fluoride can easily result in excess amounts of fluoride ingested daily (2).
1. Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009.3.
2. World Health Organization. Fluoride in Drinking Water. Available at http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/fluoride_drinking_water_full.pdf