Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Fluoride?

When spending time and money on water purification, you want to know just how effective your preferred method is and whether it cleanses the water of all the unwanted impurities, like fluoride, you may want to avoid.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Fluoride

Whether you’re thinking of investing in a countertop reverse osmosis water filter or an entire reverse osmosis water purification system, these tend to cost hundreds of dollars.

So it makes sense to do your homework before purchasing so you’re not disappointed that your purchase doesn’t do everything you want.

Evidence suggests that too much fluoride can be dangerous for you in several ways, so you should know how much fluoride is safe in your drinking water before you take your next sip.

You should also know which water purification methods will remove excess fluoride. And in this article, the focus is on whether reverse osmosis can remove fluoride from your water.

Let’s start with the basics, explaining reverse osmosis and how it works. We’ll then discuss fluoride, including the potential dangers of consuming too much and how much is considered safe.

We’ll move on to whether reverse osmosis removes fluoride. And by the time we reach the wrap-up at the end, you will know whether you need reverse osmosis to remove fluoride from your water supply.

Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section that jumps out at you.

What Exactly Is Reverse Osmosis, Anyway?

Reverse osmosis is the movement of water through a special kind of membrane when pressure is applied. These remove a large majority of contaminants from the water you collect on the purified side of the membrane. 

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work Exactly?

Reverse osmosis uses a high-pressure pump to increase the pressure on the impure water on one side of the membrane. It forces the water through the membrane but leaves just about all the impurities behind on the other side because they can’t come through the membrane.

Pros And Cons Of Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis has both benefits and drawbacks. They are as follows.


  • Reverse osmosis filters the most contaminants.
  • Reverse osmosis is a safe, environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water.
  • Reverse osmosis provides better water for cooking.


  • It tends to lead to a larger water bill.
  • There’s a noticeable drop in your water pressure.
  • Wastewater requires proper disposal.

Dangers Of Consuming Too Much Fluoride

Fluoride isn’t particularly toxic. Most kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride, and most dentists have no end of praise for the benefits of using toothpaste with fluoride and what it can do for your teeth.

However, on the Harmony Dental website, there are a whopping seven side effects that you could get from consuming too much fluoride. 

The most common is dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis.

Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic condition that affects the teeth, and it’s caused solely by overexposure to fluoride, causing those affected to have discolored teeth.

It can range from white specks on the teeth right the way through to dark brown stains and damaged pitted enamel which is tricky to clean. And while there are treatments for this available, they are expensive.

Skeletal fluorosis is a bone and joint disease. It is a condition that comes about as a result of consuming large amounts of fluoride over many years.

The bones of those with skeletal fluorosis are typically weaker than usual, and those affected have stiffness and pain in their joints.

The other side effects of excessive fluoride consumption outlined by Harmony Dental are tooth decay, IQ issues, high blood pressure, acne, and seizures.

How Much Fluoride Is Considered Safe?

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the maximum amount of fluoride considered acceptable in drinking water is 4 milligrams per liter.

This figure is considerably higher than the average fluoride level in natural drinking water sources in the US, which comes in at about 0.2 milligrams per liter.

However, it’s worth noting that the amount of fluoride in your drinking depends on where you live and your water supplier.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Fluoride?

Yes, reverse osmosis can help remove fluoride from your water supply, and it does so quite effectively. The fluoride molecules are generally too big to make it through the special membrane used in reverse osmosis.

It does not remove all the fluoride, however. It removes between 85 and 92 percent of the fluoride in your drinking water. But in most instances, this will be more than sufficient.

Reverse osmosis is also very effective at removing other impurities from your drinking water, including removing 98% of the chlorine.

Other Relevant Articles

You may also be interested in reading the following articles:

Wrap Up

So, although fluoride in small doses is unlikely to do much harm, an excessive amount can cause problems for some people, affecting their teeth and bones and possibly other side effects.

But the good news is that there shouldn’t be excessive amounts of fluoride in your drinking water supply. And if there was, you can remove most of it using reverse osmosis.

So, if you’re thinking of investing in a reverse osmosis filtration system anyway, you can rest assured that it will remove excess fluoride from your drinking water.

Mandy Anderson
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