You’ve heard it your whole life: fluoride is the chemical added to your toothpaste and bottled water to scare away dental decay. But now scientists aren’t so sure. A recent study found that fluoride could be related to weight gain and depression. Now, the FDA is officially requesting that bottled water companies severely limit the enhancement of their products with fluoride to 0.7 milligrams per liter (parts per million [ppm]).
Although fluoride prevents tooth decay, a recent study undertaken by the U.S. Public Health Service has found that too much fluoride consumption, particularly in children, can lead to discoloration of the teeth, also known as dental fluorosis. The new recommended standard does not affect the current allowable levels of fluoride in bottled water specified in FDA’s quality standard for bottled water.
It is quite possible that this new recommendation came about after the study from the University of Kent linked fluoride consumption to weight gain and depression, although government officials insist that it’s safe. Scientists have recommended that bottling companies stop adding fluoride altogether, and that the chemical should only be applied topically, as in a toothpaste.