Statement

Pew: HHS Fluoride Announcement Demonstrates Commitment to Dental Health

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WASHINGTON — The Pew Charitable Trusts applauds the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for its recommendation, announced today, that the level of fluoride in drinking water be set to a uniform level (0.7 mg/liter) throughout the nation. 

The recommendation replaces an earlier range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams/liter, with the higher fluoridation levels advised for northern areas because research had shown that people in cooler northern climates drank slightly less water than those in warmer southern regions. 

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that, as more people live and work in climate-controlled environments, any regional differences in water consumption have become negligible. The new data also took other factors into account, including increased levels of fluoride in beverages, toothpaste, and other oral health products. 

Jane Koppelman, research director of Pew’s children’s dental policy, issued the following statement: 

Today’s announcement by HHS confirms the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation for improving and protecting our health. The decision to adjust the target for fluoride levels in drinking water is based upon the established science on fluoride’s oral health benefits and the most up-to-date research on how much water we drink. 

Water fluoridation and fluoride toothpaste are largely responsible for the significant decline in tooth decay in the U.S. over the past few decades. It’s reassuring to know that, even after more than half-a-century of community water fluoridation, federal health officials continue to review the science, adapt recommendations, and ensure that Americans have access to this proven preventive health practice.

The Pew Charitable Trusts joins with leading health and medical organizations in supporting community water fluoridation as a safe, effective strategy to reduce tooth decay. Every U.S. Surgeon General for the past 50 years has endorsed water fluoridation. Optimally fluoridated water is the single most cost-effective strategy that a community can use to improve the oral health of its residents because, as studies show, fluoridation reduces tooth decay by approximately 25 percent for people of all ages.”

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at www.pewtrusts.org.

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