For the first time in 50 years, the U.S. government has recommended lowering the amount of fluoride allowed in the water supply because of an increase in fluorosis. This is a significant step with all the controversy surrounding the issue of fluoride in water. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are behind the change.
Fluorosis, a condition mainly found in children, causes streaks and spotting on the teeth. Many groups, like the American Dental Association, maintain that fluoride in moderate amounts helps prevent decay.
Ever since 1962, a recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter has been allowed in water systems. The proposed change would restrict the amount to a steady 0.7 milligrams per liter.
Fluoride was originally added to the water system in 1940 to help prevent dental problems in children. Now, with additional fluoride found in toothpaste and mouthwash, a recent study showed that 2 out of every 5 teens have spots or streaks on their teeth from excess fluoridation.
Effect of Fluoridation
More than 72% of Americans on public water systems drink fluoridated water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once fluorosis sets in, the Center said, the fluoride cannot be removed from the teeth. You can, however, reduce the appearance of damage by using veneers or thinning the outside layer of enamel.
The U.S. is one of 9 countries that fluoridate their water, but the executive director of Fluoride Action Network said that children today are receiving up to 4 times as much fluoride as was originally intended. Some experts say that simply limiting the amount of toothpaste you use can help reduce the amount of fluoride with which your teeth regularly come in contact.
To learn more about fluoride: