A water source across millions of households in the country is private wells. Well water comes from underground and contains many natural minerals. Out of concern for their family’s health, many well owners are wondering, “Does well water have fluoride?”.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that may be present in different water sources, including well water. Though it’s possible that your well water may have traces of it, it’s worth noting that not all well water has fluoride. Concentration levels and whether it’s present or not vary greatly depending on geological factors.
The concern for fluoride in well water does not stop only on whether it’s present or not. Private well owners should also pay attention to how much fluoride is in their water source. Different concentration levels would mean different things for your family’s dental health and well-being.
Below, we’ll go over everything you need to know about fluoride in well water including what it means for your family’s health. We’ll also cover health benefits, potential risks, and whether fluoride is safe or not.
What is Well Water?
Also known as groundwater, well water is water that comes from underground aquifers, a natural water reservoir found below the earth’s surface.
Well water from private wells is very common in the United States. In fact, more than 23 million households across the country rely on them for daily water sources, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Private wells, unlike municipal or city water, are not regulated by the government. Private well owners are responsible for maintaining and ensuring their water is clean and safe for human consumption.
Though not regulated by any governing body, private well owners can rely on public drinking water standards to ensure water quality.
Well water maintenance would also entail regular water testing to make sure that no toxins and harmful contaminants make it into your family’s daily water supply.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral naturally found in some rocks, soil, and water sources. It’s naturally present in the environment, foods, and beverages at varying levels. Fluoride is derived from fluorine, a common natural element found in the earth’s crust.
Fluoride does wonders in helping teeth fight cavities and tooth decay.
When plaque – a sticky form of bacteria that sticks and builds up on the surface of the teeth – breaks down sugar in the food we eat, tooth decay occurs. The acids from this bacteria will dissolve the enamel on the surface of the teeth.
This is where fluoride, commonly found in sources like food, beverages, and toothpaste, comes to the rescue. What it does is make tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to tooth decay and cavities.
It also helps damaged teeth repair or remineralizes themselves. While fluoride cannot completely repair full-blown cavities, it can prevent new cavities from ever forming and even reverse tooth decay that is still at its earlier, low-level stages.
Does Well Water Have Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that can possibly be present in varying sources of water. And yes, well water may contain fluoride.
While fluoride may naturally occur in groundwater, it’s important to note that not all well water has fluoride. Moreover, the concentration levels at which fluoride may be present in your water vary greatly depending on different factors.
The level at which your well water may contain fluoride depends on where you live and the geology around your home and well.
How Much Fluoride is in My Well Water?
Typically, at least traces of naturally-occurring fluoride is present in your well water. But it’s difficult to say for sure how much fluoride is actually present in your water.
Again, this has got to do with varying factors, including the geological situation of your well. In fact, your well water will likely have different fluoride levels than your neighbor’s water supply.
The best way to know how much fluoride is present in your well water is by having your water supply tested through a certified testing laboratory.
How Does Fluoride Get Into Well Water?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring element found in soils, rocks, and water sources. Higher concentrations of it are often found in limestone and dolomite bedrock.
The actual concentration level of fluoride in your water supply depends greatly on geology, varying from one place to another.
Fluoride is typically added to municipal and public water supplies to promote better dental health. It can also reach different water sources as by-products from fertilizers and liquid waste from factories.
Run-off and surface water brought about by the rain can also distribute trace amounts of fluoride to well water supplies.
Is Fluoride Safe?
Fluoride water in drinking water is safe, given they’re at the right levels.
In fact, many would agree that consuming fluoride at the right levels offers some great health benefits for you and your family.
Health Benefits of Fluoride
As we’ve mentioned above, fluoride helps people fight cavities and prevent tooth decay. This is especially true and important for kids in the developing stages.
Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel so our teeth are more resistant to cavities and tooth decay. Because of this, fluoride is also added to a variety of dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash.
Potential Risks and Issues with Fluoride
While fluoride in drinking water is safe at the right levels, like many minerals, too much fluoride can pose a risk and open you up to a variety of issues.
High levels of fluoride and excessive fluoride consumption can cause dental or skeletal fluorosis.
Dental fluorosis is a condition that causes streaks, flecks, or specs of white or brown on teeth, affecting their appearance. This is a cosmetic condition and does not affect health.
Skeletal fluorosis is a disease likened to arthritis, often sharing symptoms with it. Long-term fluoride overexposure could lead to this, which causes hardened bones, joint pain, difficulty in moving, and impaired mobility.
Other issues that can occur due to overexposure to fluoride include neurological issues, thyroid problems, and reproductive issues.
Testing Your Water for Fluoride
Fluoride doesn’t have a distinct taste, smell, color, or appearance. You wouldn’t be able to tell its presence, even in high-concentration amounts.
The best way to know if fluoride is present in your water is by testing it through a certified laboratory and testing center.
Results will not only tell you if fluoride is present but will tell you how much of it is present and what they mean for your family’s health and well-being.
Standards Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water: What Do the Results Mean?
When you have your water tested for fluoride levels, here’s what the results mean:
Fluoride levels of more than 4.0 mg/L (milligrams per liter)
These high levels of fluoride concentration in your drinking water require defluoridation, if there are children under 12 in your household. This level poses no risks for adults.
Fluoride levels between 1.2 mg/L and 4.0 mg/L
Still a higher concentration than the optimal range, this may pose risks for children under the age of 12. Consult with your family’s dentist or physician. This level poses no risks for adults.
Fluoride levels between 0.7 mg/L and 1.2 mg/L
This is the optimal fluoride range to promote dental health in children. Individuals who consume water with this level of fluoride don’t need additional fluoride supplements.
Fluoride levels of less than 0.7 mg/L
This level of fluoride does not promote optimal dental health in children. Children under 12 in the household may need fluoride supplements as prescribed by a dentist or physician.
High Levels of Fluoride in Water: How to Get Fluoride Out of My Water Supply
If you had your well water tested for fluoride levels and found your water supply containing excessive amounts of it, you should consider defluoridation.
You can remove high levels of fluoride from your water supply by installing a water filtration or treatment system. Consult with a professional on the options you have.
If that’s not possible, you can always use a different source for drinking and cooking water. Some switch to bottled water instead of using tap water.
Low Levels of Fluoride in Water: Does My Water Need More Fluoride?
Low levels of fluoride in your drinking water aren’t a health risk. You also won’t suffer tooth decay or other dental health issues – so long as you brush and floss your teeth and visit your dentist regularly. Switching to toothpaste, mouthwash, and other dental products with optimal fluoride levels should also help strengthen your tooth enamel.
If you’re adamant about increasing fluoride levels in your water, water fluoridation comes into the picture.
Community water fluoridation is adding fluoride into drinking water to help fluoride levels reach optimal numbers. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), almost 75% of the US population enjoys fluoridated community water systems as of the year 2012.
Well water is a very common water source across millions of households in the US. As we all know, well water contains a lot of natural minerals and contaminants alike. Many private well owners are growing curious if fluoride is ever present in their water.
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring element present in many sources of water. It may also be present in well water. Fluoride concentration levels vary and it’s worth noting that not all well water has traces of fluoride. Its presence and amount in well water would depend on where you live and the geological situation around where your well sits.
And that has been our answer to the query, “Does well water have fluoride?”. For more of your questions, don’t hesitate to hit us up below!