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In light of the new recommendations by the Department of Health and Human Services for lower fluoride levels in community water sources - a maximum of .7 milligrams - debates have arisen over what levels of fluoride are too low.
Introduced nearly five decades ago, fluoridation quickly became the most important public health measure to help prevent cavities and tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Some U.S. communities have avoided fluoridation, however, out of fear of health problems like fluorosis, the News-Sentinel reports.
Fluorosis is a largely cosmetic streaking of the teeth. White marks or splotches may arise - and dentists are normally the only individuals to notice them, according to the media outlet.
Speaking to the newspaper, Dr. Domenick Zero said there is dangerous "potential for overreaction. If you lower the levels of fluoride, some people may not be getting enough to prevent caries (cavities).”
The benefits of fluoridation are clear. The News-Sentinel notes that teenagers in 1970 had an average of 6.2 cavities, while the modern teenager has only 2.6. Moreover, increases in dental checkups and dental insurance in American families have also contributed to improved oral health.
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