Hard Water is a term used to describe water having a high concentration of calcium and magnesium ions. Hard water is undesirable due to the fact that it takes more soap to create lather. Water with hardness greater than 100 mg/l as calcium carbonate is defined as “hard water”. Cherokee County’s water is very soft, 16 mg/l as calcium carbonate.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in all water supplies and when adjusted to optimal levels, is effective in reducing tooth decay. In most of Georgia, including Cherokee County, the State Environmental Protection Division mandates fluoride levels of 0.8 milligrams per liter in drinking water.
Multiple studies over the years done in several countries and the United States show that fluoridation can reduce tooth decay by 60% in baby teeth and up to 35% in adult teeth. When fluoride was discontinued, there were large increases in the incidence of tooth decay, especially in children.
Fluoridation of community drinking water is a major factor responsible for the decline in dental caries (tooth decay) during the second half of the 20th century. By preventing cavities, community water fluoridation has been shown to save money both for families and the US Health Care System.
The history of water fluoridation is a classic example of clinical observation leading to epidemiologic investigation and community-based public health intervention. Although other fluoride-containing products are available, water fluoridation remains the most equitable and cost-effective method of delivering fluoride to all members of most communities, regardless of age, educational attainment, or income level. For additional information visit the CDC.gov website.