15:04 PM

Community Water Fluoridation Rules Change

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first changes in the recommended amount of fluoride for public drinking water supplies in nearly 50 years.

Public health officials and professional dentistry believe that water fluoridation and fluoride toothpaste are largely responsible for the decline in tooth decay in the U.S. over the past several decades.

The new guidelines set a balance where people will be able to get tooth decay prevention benefits while avoiding unwanted health effects from too much fluoride. Consuming too much fluoride during the years when teeth are forming (8 years old and younger) may lead to a condition called dental fluorosis where light white markings or spots become visible on the tooth’s enamel.

Over the last 50 years, Americans have access to more sources of fluoride than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced in the 1940s. Water is just one of several sources which also include toothpastes and mouth rinses, prescription fluoride supplements, and fluoride applied by dental professionals.

Read the full press release at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/01/20110107a.html