Fluoride in Israel’s drinking water.
A question commonly asked by olim – Is there fluoride in Israel’s drinking water and should we bring a fluoride supplement with us on Aliyah?
Some background information and salient points from the Israel Ministry of Health.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a salt of fluorine that occurs in nature. Fluoride is naturally found in all water sources. The concentration of fluoride in water varies with climate and geographic conditions.
Fluoride is one of the only chemicals that have been unequivocally proven to have a beneficial effect when present in drinking water.
The effects of fluoride on our teeth
Fluoridation provides uniform protection at a low, constant dose throughout the day, in accordance with the frequency of drinking of water. Fluoridation allows anyone at any age to be exposed at an optimal fluoride concentration that protects his teeth from caries, and therefore constitutes an equal intervention. Fluoridation has been found to be very effective, particularly in populations of low socioeconomic status, which face a higher risk of dental morbidity compared to the rest of the population and have lower awareness and compliance with preventive interventions that require taking action of adopting lifestyle changes such as observing oral hygiene, dental care or taking fluoride supplements.
Children derive the greatest benefit from fluoridation, as their teeth are developing. Fluoridation has a protective effect against caries in adolescents, adults and the elderly too. Fluoridation helps prevent dental pain and expensive dental care.
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When fluoride is added under controlled conditions to low fluoride water, the dental benefit is identical to that achieved from the consumption of water that naturally contains an optimum level of fluoride.
The effects of fluoride, are dose dependent. The main side effect that is associated with fluoridation is fluorosis, which manifests in spots on the teeth. At the fluoridation concentrations that are common in Israel, the risk for fluorosis is very low.
Fluoridation of the drinking water in Israel
Yes, there is. As was mentioned at the outset, fluoride is naturally found in all water sources.
In contravention of leading public health experts in 2014, Yael German – the then Minister of Health decided to prohibit the fluoridation of drinking water in Israel.
According to the Ministry of Health’s website there is no mandatory fluoridation of water in Israel.
Fluoride in toothpaste – the Israel Ministry of Health has issued a warning for infants and children against the ingestion of fluoride toothpastes. Consult with your family health clinic (Tipat Halav) and dentist about best ways to manage oral hygiene in infants and children.
As of January 2019, children and teenagers up to the age of 18 are able to receive the dental treatments, as part of the National Healthcare Insurance Law. Up to this date children up to the age of 16 have been able to receive the dental treatments as part of the health basket services.
What dental treatments are included in the program?