The Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency are recommending that fluoride be reduced in drinking water for the first time in 50 years because of an increase in fluorosis. Fluorosis is a dental condition that causes spotting and streaking on teeth.
The government believes that the amount of fluoride in drinking water should be reduced to 0.7 milligrams per liter of water, rather than holding it at the range of 0.7 to .2 milligrams per liter. Flouride was first added to water in the United States in the 1940s to help prevent tooth decay in children under the age of eight.
“One of water fluoridation’s biggest advantages is that it benefits all residents of a community — at home, work, school or play,” Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh told CNN. “And fluoridation’s effectiveness in preventing tooth decay is not limited to children, but extends throughout life, resulting in improved oral health.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental fluorosis is highest among 12 and 15 year-olds. The reason for the development is due to the advancement of dental technology; Americans have access to fluoride from a variety of sources, including toothpaste, mouth rinses, and supplements.
“Dental fluorosis in the United States appears mostly in the very mild form — as barely visible lacy white markings or spots on the enamel,” the department said Friday in a statement. “The severe form of dental fluorosis, with staining and pitting on the tooth surface, is rare in the United States.”
The American Dental Association claims that the new levels recommended by the government should still reduce tooth decay and minimize fluorosis. The association believes and will continuously support the fluoridation of community water as an effective way of promoting dental health.