Monday, April 27, 2015

HHS issues final recommendation for community water fluoridation

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the final Public Health Service (PHS) recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. The new recommendation is for a single level of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water. It updates and replaces the previously recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter issued in 1962.

In Colorado, many of the Public Water Systems adjust fluoride levels to be in line with this updated PHS community water fluoridation recommendation. For the past 70 years, communities across the United States have found that fluoride in their public water systems significantly improved their residents’ oral health. Community water fluoridation has led to such dramatic declines in both the prevalence and severity of tooth decay that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named it one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Nearly 75 percent of Americans who are served by public water systems receive fluoridated water. Because it is now possible to receive enough fluoride with slightly lower levels of fluoride in water, HHS developed the new PHS recommendation for community water fluoridation. This change will maintain the protective decay prevention benefits of water fluoridation and reduce the occurrence of dental fluorosis. 

“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 Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H. “Community water fluoridation is effective, inexpensive and does not depend on access or availability of professional services.”

For more information about community water fluoridation, as well as information for health care providers and individuals on how to prevent tooth decay and reduce the chance of developing dental fluorosis, visit the CDC fluoridation webpage or CDPHE oral health unit website.

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