Fluoridation and Defluoridation

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Abstract

Fluorine is the 13th most abundant element, and it is naturally introduced into the environment in both water and air(1).As a result, fluorine is present in small yet varying amounts in almost all soils, water supplies, plants, and animals. It is a normal constituent of our diets. The highest concentration of fluorine is found in our bones and teeth. The process of increasing or adding the trace element fluorine into drinking water in its ionic form as fluoride for the prevention of dental caries (tooth decay)is known as water fluoridation,whereas water defluoridation is the lowering of the naturally occurring fluoride level in drinking water to prevent dental fluorosis or the browning (mottling) of teeth (2).In 2001,US Surgeon General David Satcher stated: “Water fluoridation continues to be a highly cost-effective strategy,even in areas where the overall caries level has declined and the cost of implementing water fluoridation has increased” (3). It has been reported that the cost of fluoridation of public water systems averages $0.54 per person annually (4).In recent years,water consumption from bottle water has increased;some of the water used for bottling has a suboptimal level of fluoride. This consumption may reduce the effectiveness of a community fluoridation program.