US Dental Association applauds fluoride decision

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The American Dental Association (ADA) has commended the Federal agencies responsible for public health and safety for recalibrating the ratio of fluoride to water that they consider optimal based on scientific evaluation and the full appreciation of fluoride received from all sources.

Last week, we reported that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had announced changes to their recommendations about levels of fluoride in drinking water. HHS proposed that the recommended level of fluoride in drinking water can be set at the lowest end of the current optimal range to prevent tooth decay, and EPA is initiating a review of the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water.

HHS’ proposed recommendation of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per litre of water replaces the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. This updated recommendation is based on recent EPA and HHS scientific assessments to balance the benefits of preventing tooth decay while limiting any unwanted health effects.

In a press release, the ADA said, “As a science-based organization, the ADA supports the Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation to set the level for optimally fluoridated water at 0.7 parts per million. This adjustment will provide an effective level of fluoride to reduce the incidence of tooth decay while minimizing the rate of fluorosis in the general population.”

“This is a superb example of a government agency fulfilling its mission to protect and enhance the health of the American people,” said ADA President Dr. Raymond F. Gist, DDS. “We have always looked to the federal health agencies to guide us on this and other public health matters, and we will continue to do so. We applaud the Department of Health and Human Services for reaffirming the safety and efficacy of optimal community water fluoridation, with science on their side.”

The ADA said it will continue working with federal and state governments and other stakeholders to educate people about the health benefits of optimally fluoridated drinking water. The Association strongly urges communities that already are doing so to continue fluoridating water at the levels the government recommends as safe and optimal. Communities among the minority that still do not already optimally fluoridate their municipal water systems now should act on the government’s reaffirmation and, more than ever, do so. People who live in non-fluoridated communities should talk to their dentists about other ways to enjoy the health benefits of fluoride, such as supplements or topical applications.

“Dentistry has succeeded in preventing disease better than any other area of health care,” said Dr. Gist. “Water fluoridation is one of our most potent weapons in disease prevention, and we want as many people as possible to have the benefits of this simple, safe, inexpensive and proven health care measure.

“The ADA has long advocated for all Americans to have the best possible oral health. The recommended level has been set at the lower optimal limit, but the health benefits of fluoridation remain. The only real, known health risk is the dramatic increased levels of disease that are likely to afflict people without access to optimally fluoridated water.”

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