On January 7, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced important steps to ensure that standards and guidelines on fluoride in drinking water continue to provide the maximum protection to the American people to support good dental health, especially in children.

HHS’ proposed recommendation of 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water replaces the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. HHS is expecting to publish final guidance for community water fluoridation by spring 2011.

HHS and EPA are making announcements on fluoride based on the most up to date scientific data. See the full press release, click here.

There are several reasons for the changes seen over time, including that Americans have access to more sources of fluoride than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced in the United States in the 1940s. Water is now one of several sources of fluoride. Other common sources include dental products such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, prescription fluoride supplements, and fluoride applied by dental professionals. Water fluoridation and fluoride toothpaste are largely responsible for the significant decline in tooth decay in the U.S. over the past several decades.

For more information about community water fluoridation, visit http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation.