The government recommendation for optimally fluoridated water has been 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million. As of last Friday the government has now said that rather than a range the recommendation is 0.7 ppm.
The rationale for the decrease is that at levels higher than 0.7 ppm we see an increase in the rate of fluorosis in the general population. Fluorosis is the condition of having ingested too much fluoride during the time teeth were forming, usually between 1 and 4 years old. Mild fluorosis leads to white lines or specks on teeth while the more severe forms can manifest with black and brown staining with pitting and irregularities in the shape of the enamel. Mild forms may not be noticed, even by a dentist, but the more severe forms are very noticeable and may require extensive dental care to resolve.
The revised recommendation keeps an adequate amount of fluoride in the water to prevent decay while minimizing the incidence of fluorosis. An HHS official has characterized the recommendation as a reaffirmation of the safety and efficacy of community water fluoridation in preventing dental caries.
My job as your dentist is to reassure you that water fluoridation is still a safe and effective way to prevent dental disease. If you have any questions at all about this topic and would like to discuss them with me, please call our office at the numbers listed here on the website and I would be happy to visit with you.