Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Fluoride?

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

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Fluoride

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

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

There has been some evidence to suggest that too much fluoride can be bad for you in a number of different ways, so it pays to know what levels of fluoride are considered safe in your drinking water before you take your next sip.

Similarly, it also pays to find out which water purification methods will remove excess fluoride, if that’s what you want to achieve. And in this article, the focus is on whether reverse osmosis can remove fluoride from your water.

To that end, this article is going to start off with the basics, explaining what reverse osmosis is and how it works, before moving onto fluoride, including the potential dangers of consuming too much fluoride, and how much is considered safe.

Then, we’ll move onto 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. Here goes…

What Exactly Is Reverse Osmosis, Anyway?

Reverse osmosis is basically the movement of water through a special kind of membrane when pressure is applied on one side. This has the effect of removing 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 works by using a high pressure pump to increase the pressure on the impure water on one side of the membrane.

This 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 bigger water bill.
  • There’s a noticeable drop in your water pressure.
  • Wastewater requires proper disposal thereafter.

Dangers Of Consuming Too Much Fluoride

Now, normally, fluoride is not considered to be something that’s particularly toxic. In fact most toothpastes contain fluoride, and most dentists have no end of praise for the benefits of using a toothpaste with fluoride, and what it can do for your teeth.

However, on the Harmony Dental website, there are a whopping 7 side effects laid out that you could get from consuming too much fluoride.

The one that’s most commonly cited is called dental fluorosis, which is shortly followed by 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.

This can range from white specks on the teeth, right the way through to dark brown stains and rough, pitted enamel which is tricky to clean. And while there are treatments for this available, they do involve a bit of work and cost.

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

The bones of those with skeletal fluorosis are typically weaker than is normal, 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 that’s considered acceptable in drinking water is 4 milligrams per liter.

And it’s worth noting that this is considerably greater 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 at this point that the amount of fluoride present in your drinking depends on where you happen to live and your water supplier.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Fluoride?

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Fluoride

And now for what you came here for! I am very pleased to report that, yes, reverse osmosis can help remove fluoride from your water supply, and it does so quite effectively.

This is because the fluoride molecules are generally too big to make it through the special membrane.

It does not remove all of 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 being able to remove a whopping 98% of the chlorine.

Other Relevant Articles

You may also be interested in reading the following articles:

  • “Does Bottled Water Have Fluoride?” available on this link, or
  • “How To Remove Fluoride From Water”, which is available on this link

Wrap Up

So, although a little 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 besides.

But the good news is that there shouldn’t be an excessive amount of fluoride in your drinking water supply. And if there was, you can get rid of most of it by way of 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