Fluoride is no longer being added to Albuquerque’s drinking water. City officials argued supplemental fluoride is not necessary to meet current standards, but a local dentist said they should think twice.

“It is virtually indisputable that fluoride reduces, drastically reduces, the incidents of tooth decay in the general population,” Dr. Paul Dunn said.

In the past few decades, Dunn said the number of patients he sees with dental problems, from tooth aches to cavities, has dramatically decreased.

“A lot of this is due to municipal water fluoridation,” Dunn said.

Dollar for dollar, Dunn said supplemental water fluoridation is the single most cost-effective public health measure to reduce dental disease, but it is something Albuquerque residents will no longer be receiving when taking a sip of water from the tap.

“We’re going to err on the side of caution,” said David Morris, with the Water Authority.

Morris said under current standards, they do not need to add fluoride to Albuquerque’s water. “People need to understand that fluoride occurs naturally in our water and we’re achieving the level, 0.7 parts per million, that is right in-line with what is being recommended right now with C.D.C (Center for Disease Control) and E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency).”

But some residents are worried about the potential health impact.

“It’s fluoride; you need that stuff for your teeth, enamel and all the stuff that fights cavities,” one man said.

Morris said residents were notified about the change in a recent Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority newsletter, but said that supplemental fluoride has not been added to city water for more than a year now.

The CDC and EPA are expected to put out a new recommended fluoride level sometime this year.

At that time, they will re-evaluate their decision and make adjustments accordingly, Morris said.