U.S. Lowers Recommended Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water

April 28, 2015|4:28 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

HHS has issued new recommendations for fluoride levels in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. The new guidelines recommend a single level of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, updating and replacing the previous range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams that was originally issued in 1962. HHS decided to make this change because Americans have more access to fluoride, particularly in toothpastes and mouth rinses, than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced in the United States 70 years ago.

According to HHS, nearly 75 percent of Americans who are served by public water systems receive fluoridated water. “While additional sources of fluoride are more widely used than they were in 1962, the need for community water fluoridation still continues,” says U.S. Deputy Surgeon General Rear Admiral Boris D. Lushniak. “Community water fluoridation continues to reduce tooth decay in children and adults beyond that provided by using only toothpaste and other fluoride-containing products.”

CDC named community water fluoridation one of its 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century because it has led to a dramatic decline in the prevalence and severity of tooth decay.

Read more in these stories from NPR and The Washington Post.