According to a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our municipal drinking water supplies may contain too much fluoride. Although fluoride protects against dental decay—and is particularly important during kids' development—overconsumption has resulted in health problems, including bone fractures and tooth enamel deterioration. The report recommended that the EPA lower the maximum amount of fluoride allowed in drinking water, currently 4 mg per liter. The U.S. Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that optimal fluoride levels for cavity prevention range from 0.7 to 1.2 mg per liter.

To find out how much fluoride is in your water, contact your local water utility. According to the CDC, "All water utilities must provide their consumers with a Consumer Confidence Report that supplies information on a system's water quality, including its fluoridation level." You also can visit the CDC's My Water's Fluoride program web page at http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/MWF/Index.asp. If your state participates in the program, you'll be able to click on your location to find information about local water fluoridation levels.