NEW YORK (AP) — The government is lowering the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water because some kids are getting too much, causing white splotches on their teeth.
It’s the first change since the government urged cities to add fluoride to water supplies to prevent tooth decay more than 50 years ago. Now, fluoride is put in toothpaste, mouthwash and other products as well.
One study found about 2 out of 5 adolescents had tooth streaking or spottiness. It’s primarily a cosmetic issue, said Deputy Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, in announcing the new standard Monday.
The mineral fluoride is in water and soil. About 70 years ago, scientists discovered that people whose drinking water naturally had more fluoride also had fewer cavities.
Since 1962, the government has recommended a range of 0.7 milligrams per liter for warmer climates where people drink more water to 1.2 milligrams in cooler areas. The new standard is 0.7 everywhere.
Recent unpublished federal research found there’s no regional differences in the amount of water kids drink. So it makes sense for the same levels to be used everywhere, health officials said.