Utility company Denver Water made an announcement on August 26, informing the public that it will continue adding fluoride into the city’s drinking water supply.
Cities began adding fluoride into their water supplies in the 1940s, reports Colorado Public Radio. Fluoride is used to prevent tooth decay and can be particularly helpful when it comes to wisdom teeth, which tend to cause problems in patients between the ages of 15 and 25.
“After careful consideration of the information put forth by both sides of the fluoridation debate, I am convinced that the community water fluoridation level recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service provides substantial health benefits,” said Denver Water Commissioner Greg Austin in a statement after the announcement. He added that the practice is a “safe, cost-effective and common sense contribution to the health of the public.”
City officials say that fluoride is not harmful in the doses that can be found in the water, and stress the benefits of its presence. This is especially true for low-income families, who have difficulty accessing fluoride through other methods.
Denver Health pediatrician Patty Braun fears that a decision to eliminate fluoride from the water supply would have resulted in additional issues for the public.
”We are fearful that it would increase the rates of dental disease that are already high in the populations that we serve,” says Braun.
Doctors point out health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which put fluorinated water in the top 10 great public health achievements in the last century.
The Denver Water utility company currently serves around 1.3 million people in the Denver area. It adds enough fluoride to have an overall concentration of 0.7 milligrams per liter of water. This amounts to roughly one drop for every 55 gallons of water.