U.S. to lower amount of fluoride in drinking water

About 70 years ago, scientists discovered that people who drank water that had more fluoride actually had fewer cavities!

So, in 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first city in the world to add fluoride to its drinking water. Research done six years later showed that kids there had significantly less tooth decay. The same year, the U.S. surgeon general said all drinking water should have fluoride added.

Now, however, the U.S. government is planning to lower the recommended amount in drinking water.

This is because some kids may be getting too much, causing streaking and white blotches on their teeth. Thankfully, this side effect seems to be only cosmetic, not a sign of tooth decay or enamel erosion.

Because of the link between fluoride and fewer cavities and less tooth decay, fluoride is now in toothpaste, mouthwash and other products. Dentists are well aware of the benefits of fluoride for teeth, especially in children.

According to the U.S. surgeon general and the American Dental Association, adding fluoride to water has been a public health success. Fluoride in water both reduces the rate of tooth enamel demineralization as well as increases the rate of remineralization.

The new lowered amount will change and lower the recommended amount. In 1962, communities began adding fluoride within a range of 0.7 milligrams per liter for warmer areas (where people are likely to drink more water) to 1.2 milligrams in cooler areas. Now, the new recommended amount is 0.7 milligrams, no matter the area.

For those in areas where fluoridated water is not available, or those who draw water from wells, most dental offices can give more information about topical fluoride treatments. At home, brushing twice each day with fluoridated toothpaste is an important part of good oral health.

Did you know? It’s best not to drink water for at least 30 minutes after you brush your teeth to not wash away the beneficial effects.