Find out the fluoride level of your community’s drinking water. Call your local water department or visit our Danger In Your Water
splash page to look up the CDC’s tally of fluoride levels in your town.
2. If the fluoride concentration in your community water is more than 2 ppm, the CDC recommends finding an alternative source of drinking water for children ages 8 or younger to reduce their risk of dental fluorosis. The best alternative: bottled water to which no fluoride has been added (it will say on the label). However, to be doubly sure, you’ll have to contact the bottler. Or visit Danger In Your Water splash page for a list of the top brands with low–or no–fluoride.
3. Use a filtration system to reduce levels of fluoride, but don’t count on those pitchers with charcoal filters to do the trick. Most experts recommend putting reverse-osmosis filters on your tap; manufacturers claim they remove 80 to 90% of fluoride from water. Cost: several hundred dollars.
4. Monitor small children when they brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste until you are confident that they only use a pea-size amount and don’t swallow it.
5. Has your pediatrician or dentist prescribed fluoride supplements for your kids? Ask why–and then ask whether a fluoride rinse would work just as well.
6. Curb your kids’–and your own–thirst for soda pop because it’s generally made with fluoridated water. Fruit juice, beer, and wine also give you lots of it. At Danger In Your Water splash page you’ll find a USDA listing of the fluoride content in hundreds of foods and drinks.
7. Don’t let fear of fluoride spoil your taste for tea–iced or regular–but brew it at regular strength, consider using nonfluoridated water, and limit yourself to a serving or two per day.
8. Choose organic fruits and vegetables: The US National Organic Program does not allow the use of the pesticides that leave high fluoride residues.
9. Avoid or limit your consumption of mechanically deboned chicken in any form–nuggets, baby food, canned. These may contain high amounts of fluoride. The deboning process often leaves traces of fluoride-containing bone in the final product.
10. If you have a baby on powdered formula, mix the formula with unfluoridated water. And go easy on baby food made with chicken (see above).