Fluoride levels lowered nationwide

file image (MGN)
file image (MGN)

There will soon be less fluoride in tap water nationwide. The federal government is lowering the recommended amount.

Experts say kids have had too much fluoride, and it's actually affecting their teeth negatively.

While the reduction is almost in half, one local dentist told us the benefits of the decay-preventing mineral far outweigh the negative effects.

The mineral fluoride, added to water for decades to help strengthen children's teeth, could now be causing spotting on tooth enamel.

That's according to the federal government.

But local dentist Craig Janssen says it hasn't been a problem locally.

“Over the course of all these years, I haven't really seen much in the way of fluorosis. It's a pretty rare event,” said Janssen, who has been a dentist for nearly thirty years.

Monday, the Centers for Disease Control released new guidelines, reducing the standard fluoride level to point 7 parts per million nationwide.

However, the Green Bay Water Utilities says it already made the change a few years ago.

“We were adding it about 1 to 1.1 parts per million and now we're at 0.7,” said Nancy Quirk with the Green Bay Water Utility. “People are getting fluoride from other sources, such as toothpaste and fluoridation from their dentists.”

According to the website of Fluoride Action Network, an anti-fluoride group, six Wisconsin communities since 2010 have voted not to add fluoride to their water supplies.

Quirk says here in Green Bay, most health professionals want fluoride in the water.

“People who can't afford dentistry they have to get fluoride somehow, and the water supply is the best way to do that at this point,” said Quirk.

Janssen agrees that fluoride can be good for teeth, in moderation.

“When it's used at a specified amount, I think we're fine. But more is not necessarily better,” said Janssen.