Fluoride levels in drinking water decreasing

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - Fluoride was originally added to drinking water in 1948 to combat tooth decay. Now, dentists across the country are seeing white spots, called fluorosis, popping up on their patients' teeth.

"Which is barely noticeable -- usually a dentist can notice it when they inspect a tooth very closely. Usually, at a normal talking distance, it is not very noticeable," explained Dr. Phil Bilger.

In response, the federal government announced Friday plans to reduce the amount of fluoride in drinking water from the current range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter to a flat .7 milligrams. "Adjusting the fluoride level to the correct level really helps prevent tooth decay for everybody," said Dr. Bilger.

In Palm Beach County, few adjustments are needed. "Currently, we're at very low levels," said Dr. Bilger. "We're at 0.8, so this would be a very slight adjustment."

"I think the important thing to remember is that all water sources have some fluoride in them. All we're doing is just adjusting the levels to best fight tooth decay," he concluded.

Nowadays, people receive fluoride from several sources in addition to drinking water, like toothpaste and mouthwash, helping teeth to stay healthy and blemish free.

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