Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Feds recommend lower level of fluoride to prevent tooth decay

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended communities begin fluoridating their drinking water supply to an optimal level of 0.7 milligrams per liter of water instead of the previously recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligram per liter. Almost 72 percent of Coloradans served by a public water system have access to optimally fluoridated water.

“For Colorado communities that have not been fluoridating their water, this would be a great time to begin the discussion about adding fluoride,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Community water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay.”

People now have access to more sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and mouthwash, than they did when the old standard was issued in 1962. Current research indicates there are no additional oral health benefits resulting from consuming fluoride in drinking water at levels above 0.7 milligrams per liter. Evidence shows that 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water will continue to provide essential oral health benefits while lowering the potential of dental fluorosis, a cosmetic discoloration of the teeth that can occur in some individuals who consume higher amounts of fluoride.

A water system can provide this benefit to individuals for a lifetime for less than the cost of a single filling. More than 70 years of research proves that community water fluoridation is safe and effective at reducing tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls community water fluoridation one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Visit CDC’s My Water's Fluoride to learn more about the benefits of fluoride and to find out if your community has fluoridated water.

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