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AAP Press Statement on HHS & EPA Recommended Change in Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water

1/7/2011 by O. Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics

"The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their proposed change to the recommendation for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water to prevent tooth decay.

“Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood, and water fluoridation is one of the most important public health initiatives in the 20th century. The AAP agrees that water fluoridation is beneficial for reducing and controlling tooth decay and promoting oral health in children and adults. The recommended 0.7 milligrams per liter provides enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay in children and adults while limiting the possibility for children to develop dental fluorosis—a mild change in the appearance of the tooth’s enamel.

“This change is necessary because Americans have access to more sources of fluoride than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced. Parents should still be aware that children aged 8 years and younger exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride have an increased chance of developing dental fluorosis. When considering whether a fluoride supplement is needed for their family, parents should speak with their family dentist or pediatrician to ensure that their child’s fluoride intake is at an optimal level.”

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.