Do Water Filters Remove Fluoride? Do Carbon Filters Remove Fluoride?

Author: Rory Mullan - Published: 2021/11/18 - Updated: 2022/11/22

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Do you want to consume contamination-free and pure water every time you feel thirsty or want to cook something healthy? We all do, but sadly only a few of us plan to take reasonable actions to convert this desire into reality. If you are one of them, consider installing a water filter.

Water filters not only make your home water crisp and healthy, they also help reduce your regular consumption of bottled water. Besides, water filters provide you easy and quick access to safe water 24/7.

But not all filters are the same. While some help you to remove most harmful contaminants from your water, others might only change its taste. So, if you have been looking for a water filter to specifically remove fluoride, we are here to help.

Dive into this guide for a detailed explanation of filtration technologies that can eliminate fluoride from water supplies. Moreover, you can enlighten yourself with some helpful tips to reduce your overall daily fluoride exposure.

So, here is our guide answering the question, do water filters remove fluoride?


  • While carbon filters are excellent for getting rid of a variety of water impurities, they are entirely ineffective against fluoride.
  • Reverse osmosis, bone char, activated alumina, and distillation are 4 water filtration/purification techniques best used to remove fluoride from water.

Do Water Filters Remove Fluoride?

Do Water Filters Remove Fluoride Thumbnail

The good news first: Water filters remove fluoride. But you need to use the right model/type.

Because, not all filters are designed to remove fluoride effectively. In addition, some water filters may have higher reduction rates than others. Remember: Fluoride is a tough impurity that’s hard to eliminate.

For instance, a regular under sink water filter won’t even touch fluoride levels. One with little activated alumina filter media may remove 80%, while a reverse osmosis system can reduce 95% fluoride.

But exactly which types of water filters can help you remove fluoride from your drinking water? Let’s find out!

Types of Water Filters That Remove Fluoride

Here are the three types of filters that can help you get fluoride-free water.

Bone Char Filters

Bone char filter media can remove about 90 to 95% of fluoride from water. In addition, it adsorbs various other contaminants using its porous surface. High levels of radioactive elements and heavy metals can be reduced this way.

By the way, unlike popular belief there are no similarities between activated carbon and bone char filtration. Both are unique in their own ways.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Doing your research trying to find the best water filter to remove fluoride, you may have come across reverse osmosis systems. This type of water filter is a pretty popular candidate that can not only reduce fluoride levels but also helps you get rid of many different types of contaminants.

Most importantly, a reverse osmosis system features a semi-permeable membrane that screens out impurities based on size and electrical charge. To put it simply, the membrane rejects close to all particles larger than water molecules.

But there’s more here. An RO water system comes with several pre and post-filters that help enhance your water’s quality even more and give it the final touch before you get to enjoy it.

However, like any other technology in this world, reverse osmosis water purification is not perfect. While it effectively removes 95% of fluoride and up to 99.9% of other harmful contaminants, it also filters out all healthy minerals such as potassium and magnesium.

Besides, unfortunately, a standard reverse osmosis water filter is not exactly sustainable. It wastes around three gallons of untreated water in exchange for a gallon of pure and filtered water. That’s not a great characteristic considering the times we live in now.

Activated Alumina (AA) Water Filters

Made from aluminum oxide, an activated alumina water filter features a significant surface-area-to-weight ratio that successfully traps different kinds of contaminants for a long time.

Like reverse osmosis, AA can also eradicate about 95% of fluoride from any drinking water. Other than that, it can remove arsenic, reduce TDS levels and lower sulfate concentrations.

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Do Carbon Filters Remove Fluoride?

Unfortunately, activated carbon filters do not remove fluoride. With that said, they’re quite famous for removing hundreds of chemicals from water.

So, for example, if your water has high levels of chlorine and disinfection byproducts, you can use a carbon filter to kick these substances out.

Activated charcoal powder

Do Refrigerator Water Filters Remove Fluoride?

Refrigerator filters do not utilize bone char or activated alumina or reverse osmosis. Hence, they can’t remove fluoride from drinking water. Instead, fridge filters usually feature carbon-based cartridges that eliminate contaminants as described above.

Of course we know about the convenience of using a refrigerator water filter and understand why many people want to use one to purify their drinking water. We can’t blame you. But since they can’t reduce fluoride levels, you should consider upgrading your home with a filter that can.

If you want something that can provide a similar convenient experience as a fridge filter, choose a water filter pitcher instead. In that case, you can go for the Clearly Filtered (learn more here).

Fluoride in Drinking Water – Benefits and Drawbacks

Many experts will try to convince you to choose fluoridated over fluoride-free water. And there is no doubt that fluoride is a great helper when it comes to providing oral hygiene. But high levels of fluoride can also negatively affect your health.

If you are looking for a fluoride water filter, it is safe to assume that you do not want the extra fluoride. But you should also know that it isn’t always harmful.

Below are the pros and cons of fluoride present in our water supplies.


  • You are probably aware of a very painful condition called tooth decay.[1] This disease happens after a dental plaque and often leads to gum diseases and holes in your teeth. However, the fluoride present in your drinking water helps prevent it, which is why children who consume fluoridated water have stronger teeth.
  • Tap water with added fluoride helps the government save lots of dollars required to arrange sources for dental fillings.
  • Fluoridated water has helped reduce cavity issues in almost 25% of people.[2]


  • Overconsumption of fluoride can cause dental fluorosis. This health problem may create stains and pits in your teeth.
  • Moreover, high fluoride levels in your body can lead to skeletal fluorosis, which results in extreme pain in your joints and bones.
  • Fluoridated water is also a threat to the normal functioning of your thyroid gland.

How to Reduce Your Overall Fluoride Exposure

An oversupply of fluoride can harm your health, so it’s better to limit your exposure. Here are some ways in which you can do that:

  • Processed foods are often produced using fluoridated water. This means that they may contain high levels of the salt, and you should avoid them as much as you can.
  • Use fluoride-free products for your teeth as recommended by your dentist.
  • Coffee and tea may have naturally high concentrations of fluoride, so make efforts to reduce their consumption.
  • If you have the money, stick to organically-grown fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, you may be exposed to pesticides applied in conventional agriculture which often contain fluoride.
  • Consult your doctor for a healthy substitution of medicines containing excessive fluoride.
  • If you cook food in Teflon cookware, avoid that from now on. Teflon equals fluoride.
  • Reduce the consumption of bottled water as some may have high levels of fluoride.

Farming tractor spraying a field with pesticides


In summary, water filters remove fluoride, just not all types.

The three types of filter media/filtration methods you can use are reverse osmosis, bone char and activated alumina.

Carbon filters do not remove fluoride. The same goes for refrigerator water filters.

The number one benefit of fluoride in drinking water is the prevention of tooth decay.

Drawbacks: People might overconsume and you cannot control who ingests how much.

Aside from using a fluoride filter, there are other ways to reduce your overall fluoride exposure, such as using fluoride-free toothpaste.

Further Reading


Meet Rory Mullan

Rory Mullan Rory has joined the Water Masterz team as a contributing writer. He has covered all sorts of topics in the last several years.

Outside of his writing work, Rory enjoys photographing the Irish landscape and making music!

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