HHS issues final recommendation for optimal fluoride level in drinking water
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have released the final Public Health Service recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water. The new recommendation is set for a single level of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water.
April 27, 2015 -- Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the final Public Health Service recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water. The new recommendation is set for a single level of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, updating and replacing the previous recommended range (0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter) issued in 1962.
The change was recommended because Americans now have access to more sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, than they did when it was first introduced in the United States. As a result, there has been an increase in fluorosis, which, in most cases, manifests as barely visible lacy white marking or spots on the tooth enamel. The new recommended level 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 continues to reduce tooth decay in children and adults beyond that provided by using only toothpaste and other fluoride-containing products."
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. Fluoride occurs naturally in most water systems but often at levels too low to prevent tooth decay. The practice of adding fluoride to a community's water system to reach the optimal level for preventing tooth decay has grown steadily over the years. Nearly 75 percent of Americans who are served by public water systems receive fluoridated water.