Experts say water fluoridation is crucial in preventing tooth decay. Experts say water fluoridation has proved to be a safe and cost-effective way to reduce dental problems for more than 60 years. Today, water fluoridation is estimated to reduce tooth decay by 20%-40%.

That's why I found this news from the ACMUA to be concerning.

The Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority has just made it known that they stopped feeding the drinking water system with fluoride over a month ago when they ran out of their fluoride supply.

In legal notices published in the last two days, the ACMUA is advising customers that children under the age of 9 should use an alternative source of fluoride such as a mouthwash or a toothpaste.

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There's no word on why the Atlantic City water utility waited so long before making it known that they had stopped fluoridating the water.

Fluoride prevents the acid produced by the bacteria in plaque from dissolving, or demineralizing, tooth enamel, the hard and shiny substance that protects the teeth.

Fluoride also allows teeth damaged by acid to repair, or remineralize, themselves. Fluoride cannot repair cavities, but it can reverse low levels of tooth decay and thus prevent new cavities from forming.

The ACMUA is also suggesting that adults and children over 9 consult with their dentist about possibly using a fluoride alternative.

So, how long will this lack of fluoride last in Atlantic City's water? The ACMUA thinks it could be two or three months before they can resolve their supply problem. The utility says it will notify their customers when they resume adding fluoride.

For question or comments on the fluoride-free water situation in Atlantic City, talk with Michael Armstrong, ACMUA executive director at 609-345-3315.

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