The U.S. government has determined there is too much flouride in the nation's drinking water. Flouride is a mineral and has been credited with dramatically cutting cavities and tooth decay.
"One of water fluoridation's biggest advantages is that it benefits all residents of a community - at home, work, school, or play. And fluoridation's effectiveness in preventing tooth decay is not limited to children, but extends throughout life, resulting in improved oral health," Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.
A recent government study found that too much flouride causes tooth streaking or spottiness in 2 out of 5 adolescents. In some cases teeth can even be pitted by the mineral.
HHS plans to change the recommended flouride level to 0.7 milligrams per liter of water.
Since 1962, the standard had been a range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that fluorosis, the splotchy tooth condition, is common with kids ages 12 through 15. It has become much more common since the 1980s.
"One of the things that we're most concerned about is exactly that," said an administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly before the release of the report.