Fluoride is now in our toothpaste and mouthwash as well as our drinking water, and some of us are getting too much of it. As such, the government today announced it's lowering the recommended level of fluoride in water for the first time in more than 50 years. Fluoridation began to take hold following the government's 1962 recommendation that it be added to drinking water, reports CNBC. Today's adjustment brings the official recommendation to the bottom of its previous spectrum: from 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter down to a flat 0.7 milligrams. CNBC explains the previous range was due to variations in water consumption decades ago and gives the example of Southern kids drinking more than their peers during hot, unairconditioned summers.
Too much fluoride has become a common cause of splotches on teeth, a cosmetic condition called fluorosis. The AP reports one study found about 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness from too much fluoride. The CDC notes that "drinking water with the right amount of fluoride keeps the tooth surface strong and solid and prevents about 25% of cavities during a person’s lifetime." According to its 2012 stats, 67.1% of Americans receive fluoridated water. (Read more fluoride stories.)