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Despite heavy opposition, Portland’s city council recently voted to start putting fluoride in tap water. The last decade has seen an increase in the debate over whether it’s safe to add fluoride to water, and studies have been mixed.

Is fluoride bad for you?

Fluoride protects healthy teeth from cavities by giving them a protective coating. Proponents want to add fluoride to water to protect kids—especially those from low income families—from cavities.

Opponents raise the concern that if there’s already a cavity, fluoride could potentially lock bacteria in, preventing the body from fixing the problem itself (human saliva has enzymes that can restore the coating on your teeth, and cleaning, etc., can help kill bacteria).

Some studies have even found that the long term effects of ingesting fluoride may be negative, with one study finding a link to bone cancer. Other studies have refuted the negative effects, but as many in Portland have pointed out, those studies were funded by companies that benefit from fluoride use!

Not all cities put fluoride in water. You can also remove fluoride from your tap by using a reverse osmosis water filter.

If you avoid ingesting fluoride and have generally healthy teeth, it may be worth using a fluoride toothpaste to receive the benefits.

Are you for or against putting fluoride in drinking water?

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