Watch CBSN Live

Fluoride is Good For You, We Mean Bad for You

toothbrush, teeth, clean, kid, child, tooth, mouth care, mouth wash, generic, 4x3
(istockphoto) istockphoto

ATLANTA (CBS/AP) Putting fluoride in drinking water is all good, right? Let's hope so. It's been all but standard American policy for 50 years. But new research is pushing Uncle Sam to brush up his policy a bit.

A government report warns that while fluoride inserted into our drinking water has dramatically cut cavities and tooth decay (by as much as 90 percent), too much of it might be causing spots on some kid's teeth.

According to the report from Centers for Disease Control, 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride. In some extreme cases, teeth can even be pitted by the mineral -- though many cases are so mild only dentists notice it.  Young teens seem especially affected.

Most water supplies in America are now fluoridated. And kids are getting fluoride in toothpaste and sometimes supplements.

So Uncle Sam is changing the rules, or at least the recommendations. The new standard, they hope, will be .7 milligrams per liter of water. The standard since 1962 has been a range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.

Fluoridation has been fought for decades by people who worried about its effects, including conspiracy theorists who feared it was a plot to make people submissive to government power.

That battle won't end any time soon.