Q: I just bought a home water filter system for my family. Can water filters reduce the benefits a fluoridated water system would otherwise offer to my children’s teeth?
A: The answer to your question is YES. Some types of water treatment systems that are installed in one’s home can decrease the fluoride levels, thus potentially reducing the cavity-preventing effects of a water supply that has been optimally fluoridated.
It has been documented that the reverse osmosis systems and distillation units remove significant amounts of fluoride. However, studies have also shown that water softeners do not cause a significant loss in fluoride levels. The concentration of fluoride found in your water will depend on the type and quality of the water filter you purchased, the current status of the filter and its age.
For questions about the level of fluoride in your water supply or to arrange to have your filtered water tested, contact your local and state public health departments. Your dentist should also be contacted to determine if your children are candidates for fluoride supplementation, as it is available by prescription only. Those individuals who drink bottled water as their primary source of water may also be depriving themselves of the benefits of fluoride, as many brands fall short of the optimum levels of 0.7-1.2 pm.