While the introduction of fluoride into drinking water is generally credited with lowering the incidence of tooth decay, there can be too much of a good thing. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 40% of adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness caused by too much fluoride consumption. The splotchy tooth condition known as “fluorosis” is especially common among children between the ages of 12 and 15 years, and seems to have become more prevalent since the 1980s. Changing drinking habits, toothpastes containing fluoride, and fluoride supplements seem to be primary causes of fluorosis. To address the potential problem, the federal government intends to lower the recommended limit for fluoride in water supplies.
P.S. Parents with concerns about their children’s fluoride consumption should schedule a dental examination to look for signs of the condition.