Fluoride exists naturally in water sources and is derived from fluorine, the thirteenth most common element in the Earth’s crust. It is well known that fluoride helps prevent and even reverse the early stages of tooth decay states KidsHealth.org. M.U.D. adds fluoride to its treated water to promote dental health. Fluoridation was approved by Omaha voters on May 14, 1968, by a vote of 54,185 in favor to 39,827 opposed. In 2008, the Nebraska Unicameral passed LB 245 which requires all Nebraska cities and towns with populations over 1,000 to add fluoride to public water systems. MUD Omaha
Does Omaha Have Fluoride in the Water?
Lobbied by the Nebraska Dental Association and supported by the American Dental Association (ADA), the Nebraska legislature passed a law in April 2008, over the Governor’s veto, to require all Nebraska cities with populations over 1,000 to add fluoride chemicals into water supplies unless cities opt-out by 2010. 49 out of 61 Nebraska cities opted out by voting NO to fluoridation in Election Day referenda on November 4, 2008.
Nebraska Revised Statute §71-3305 creates a statewide fluoridation mandate for all municipalities having a population of 1000 or more unless they have a naturally high fluoride level. At the time of adoption, voters were given an opportunity to prohibit the practice in their community by adopting a prohibition ordinance. To learn more about this law, click here.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral in your bones and teeth. It’s also found naturally in the following:
Fluoride is commonly used in dentistry to strengthen enamel, which is the outer layer of your teeth. Fluoride helps to prevent cavities. It’s also added in small amounts to public water supplies in the United States and in many other countries. This process is called water fluoridation.
What is fluoride used for?
In the context of human health, fluoride is mainly used to improve dental health. You can sometimes find it in your local water supply and in many over-the-counter (OTC) products, including:
- mouth rinses
If you tend to get a lot of cavities, your dentist might suggest using a prescription mouth rinse with fluoride. These rinses usually have a higher concentration of fluoride than OTC options do.
Fluoride is also used:
- in medical imaging scans, such as PET scans
- as a cleaning agent
- in pesticides
- to make Teflon, steel, and aluminum products
Are there any potential side effects from fluoride?
While fluoride is a naturally occurring compound, it can still cause side effects when consumed in large doses. In the United States, the amount of fluoride that’s added to water is usually around 0.7 parts per million (ppm), the maximum allowed as of 2015.
Dental fluorosis happens when you consume too much fluoride while your teeth are still forming under your gums. This results in white spots on the surface of your teeth. Other than the appearance of white spots, dental fluorosis doesn’t cause any symptoms or harm. It tends to affect only children under the age of 8 who have permanent teeth still coming in. Children are also more likely to swallow toothpaste, which contains significantly more fluoride than fluoridated water.
You can reduce your child’s risk of developing dental fluorosis by supervising them when they brush their teeth to make sure they aren’t swallowing large amounts of toothpaste.
Is fluoridated water dangerous?
Researchers from around the world have conducted hundreds of studies that look at the safety of adding low concentrations of fluoride to drinking water. There’s no evidence that fluoride added to local water supplies in the United States causes any health problems, aside from the occasional mild case of dental fluorosis.
Is there Fluoride in Omaha’s Drinking Water?
Yes, fluoride is added to Omaha’s drinking water. However, there are four parts per million (ppm) standards for this harmful additive. The good news is, independent testing has shown that the city’s water utility does not exceed this standard. Knowing what you now know – the truth about fluoride – do you really want to drink tap water?
What can you do? Fortunately, there are solutions. Investing in a high-quality water filter, such as a reverse osmosis system, or a kettle that you can use to boil fluoride and other contaminants out of your water, will improve its safety – and your overall health and well-being.
How do I know if my water’s fluoridated?
Not every city in the United States fluoridates its drinking water. The decision about whether or not to fluoridate is made by each city. However, the CDC has a tool you can use to check your local water supply if you live in certain states. This tool will tell you whether your city fluoridates its water. If it does, you’ll also be able to see how much they add.
If your city doesn’t fluoridate its water, but you’re interested in the dental health benefits of fluoride, try:
- brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- using a fluoride mouthwash once a day (not recommended for children under 6 years of age)
- asking your doctor about a professional fluoride treatment
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral used in many dental products to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. It’s also added to the local water supplies in many American cities. While the amount added to drinking water is considered to be relatively safe, exposure to high levels of fluoride may be linked to several health issues. If you’re concerned about your fluoride intake, ask your local government about the fluoride in your city’s water. You can also opt for fluoride-free dental products, especially if you have young children.
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