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US lowers fluoride in water; too much causing splotchy teeth

Published:Wednesday | April 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM
In this June 3, 2008 file photo, Tianna Swisher, a student at Liberty Valley Elementary School in Danville, attempts to drink from the water fountain at Montour Preserve near Washingtonville, USA.

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 two out of five 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.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the world's first city to add fluoride to its drinking water in 1945. Six years later, a study found a dramatic decline in tooth decay among children there, and the US surgeon general endorsed water fluoridation.

Today, about 75 per cent of Americans get fluoridated water.