Ever since 1945, cities and towns across the country have enriched their public water sources with fluoride. Grand Rapids, Michigan was the first town to adjust the fluoride content of its water supply, and studies showed that afterwards, the general population had far fewer cavities than before. Fluoridation became an official policy of the U.S. Public Health Service in 1951, and by 1960 fluoridation of the water supply became a common practice throughout the United States.

water dropletRecent studies conducted on public water sources have shown that water from your faucet can contain chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and by-products from the chlorination process as well as bacteria and microorganisms that can cause illness. Tests in 45 states have even discovered heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, cadmium and others, possibly entering from pipes in older homes. Because of these findings, filtering tap water is important to ensure that you and your family members don’t contract a serious illness as a result of drinking it.

When choosing a filter, however, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not losing the fluoride content of the water in the process of filtering it. About half of the public water sources in Arizona are fluoridated, including the ones that serve the greater Phoenix area. Extra fluoride is important, especially for children. Kids are more prone to cavities and the fluoride in water and toothpaste helps prevent the process of tooth decay from starting.

In order to filter the harmful bacteria from your tap water while retaining the fluoride content, look for the seal of approval from the American Dental Association on your water filter system, whether it’s one that attaches to your faucet or the refillable pitcher. The ADA endorses the addition of fluoride to water supplies as a safe and beneficial public health measure and only approves water filtration systems that preserve the fluoride content of the water.

Extra fluoride, along with regular brushing and flossing habits, can help prevent cavities from forming on your teeth. If you have questions water filters or about the effects of fluoride, talk to your dentist.