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Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’S Standards
point, the SMCL does not completely prevent the occurrence of moderate enamel fluorosis. EPA has indicated that the SMCL was intended to reduce the severity and occurrence of the condition to 15% or less of the exposed population. No new studies of the prevalence of moderate enamel fluorosis in U.S. populations are available. Past evidence indicated an incidence range of 4% to 15% (50 Fed. Reg. 20164 ). The prevalence of moderate cases that would be classified as being of aesthetic concern (discoloration of the front teeth) is not known but would be lower than 15%. The degree to which moderate enamel fluorosis might go beyond a cosmetic effect to create an adverse psychological effect or an adverse effect on social functioning is also not known.
Additional studies, including longitudinal studies, of the prevalence and severity of enamel fluorosis should be done in U.S. communities with fluoride concentrations higher than 1 mg/L. These studies should focus on moderate and severe enamel fluorosis in relation to caries and in relation to psychological, behavioral, and social effects among affected children, their parents, and affected children after they become adults.
Methods should be developed and validated to objectively assess enamel fluorosis. Consideration should be given to distinguishing between staining or mottling of the anterior teeth and of the posterior teeth so that aesthetic consequences can be more easily assessed.
More research is needed on the relation between fluoride exposure and dentin fluorosis and delayed tooth eruption patterns.