US lowers fluoride level in water supply

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released new guidelines regarding water fluoridation.

Posted: April 30, 2015

On April 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officially released new recommendations about how much fluoride should be in the water supply for the first time since 1962. According to the Associated Press, the organization is lowering the fluoride levels due to white splotches occurring on their teeth from receiving too much of the mineral. While this issue is primarily cosmetic, it was prevalent enough for HHS to move forward with new guidelines.

Updated fluoride recommendations 
Previously, HHS had recommended a range of fluoride in water, varying from 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter. The new guidelines remove the range and simply advise the lower end of this spectrum, meaning that water should contain 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter. According to the organization, Americans had less access to other access points to fluoride when fluoridation was originally introduced, such as toothpaste and mouthwash. However, despite these methods, fluoridated water still remains integral to dental health. 

"While additional sources of fluoride are more widely used than they were in 1962, the need for community water fluoridation still continues," said U.S. Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral, Dr. Boris D. Lushniak, in a statment. "Community water fluoridation continues to reduce tooth decay in children and adults beyond that provided by using only toothpaste and other fluoride-containing products."

"Community water fluoridation is effective, inexpensive and does not depend on access or availability of professional services. It has been the basis for the primary prevention of tooth decay for nearly 70 years," Lushniak added.

HHS notes that nearly 75 percent of public water supplies in the U.S. are fluoridated and that most water has some fluoride in it naturally. However, high levels of fluoride causes fluorosis, which can cause streaking or browning on the teeth. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a significant amount of adolescents have some level of fluorosis compared to prior generations. In fact, recent data from the CDC found that 41 percent of those between age 12 and 15 have fluorosis in general. 

Fluoridation is considered one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century by the CDC. Ideally, the new recommendation will help communities nationwide by continuing all of the benefits of fluoridation, while simultaneously lowering instances of mild to severe fluorosis. 

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