Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Fluoride Facts You Should Know

Fluoride is easily added to drinking water and tough to remove

So by now, you may have decided where you stand on fluoride, and the debate that surrounds fluoridating community water supplies. But how, exactly, is fluoride added or removed from the water?

First of all, adding fluoride is much easier than removing it. Essentially, a water district will add fluoride (usually in the form of fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, or sodium fluoride) to a large drum of water called a saturator tank. When the water is saturated with fluoride, it is distributed into the water supply at the levels deemed fit.

Removing fluoride is a bit trickier. Most standard water filters will not impact the fluoride concentration in water, because they are charcoal-based (which don't trap any and all chemicals). And don't bother with the old boiling trick; fluoride will cheerfully stay in the hot tub. Reverse osmosis and distillation filters will remove fluoride, and the CDC recommends you purchase a American National Standards Institute (ANSI) certified unit that's been tested for effective fluoride removal.

Unfortunately, cost of reverse osmosis and distillation techniques can be prohibitive to individuals, and is not necessarily effective for an entire community water supply. As the World Health Organization puts it, "the preferred option is to find a supply of safe drinking-water with safe fluoride levels" [source: WHO].

If you can't get enough of fluoride--or are concerned you're getting too much--read on to discover lots more information about fluoride and the debate that surrounds it.