On January 7th, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it is lowering the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water from 0.7-1.2ppm to 0.7ppm.  At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it is reviewing  whether or not it will recommend decreasing the maximum allowable level of fluoride in drinking water from 4ppm to a lower level.

Should we, therefore, be worried about too much fluoride in our water? We think not, because of the following factors:

  • Research over the last 65 years has shown that communities with fluoride in their water have 20-40% lower incidence of cavities in adults and children.
  • Children given water with acceptable levels of fluoride have a lower risk of developing cavities.
  • Fluoride in drinking water is the most cost-effective way to treat dental decay; a lifetime's worth of fluoride in drinking water costs less than one filling.

Why was the recommendation made, then, to lower the amount of fluoride in drinking water? For cosmetic issues--not due to any health hazard from fluoride.

"The proposal...is based on an increase in dental fluorosis over the last 20 years", said Dr. William G. Kohn, director of the division of oral health at the HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fluorosis is a change in the appearance of the teeth from fluoride levels ingested above optimal levels in childhood while the teeth are forming.  Some describe it a s looking like "white freckles" on the teeth.  Mild fluorosis, which is by far the most common type, does not pose any significant risks to normal function, and it may actually make the teeth more resistant to decay.

So, if you live in an area of fluoridated water, please be assured you can safely drink as much tap water as you need to stay healthy, and by doing so, you will be fighting cavities!

For more fluoride info, visit:


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Dr. Kim Okamura

I'm Dr. Kim Okamura and this blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE.