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“One of water fluoridation’s biggest advantages is that it benefits all residents of a community _ at home, work, school, or play. And fluoridation’s effectiveness in preventing tooth decay is not limited to children, but extends throughout life, resulting in improved oral health,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh, in a statement.

Indeed, many health leaders continue to be worried about cavities, particularly among poor families with kids who eat a lot of sweets but don’t get much dental care.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius could make a final decision on details of the changes within a few months, the administration official said.

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Associated Press writers Maria Cheng in London, John Seewer in Toledo, David B. Caruso in New York and Dina Cappiello in Washington, D.C., and Nigel Duara in Portland, Ore., contributed to this report

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Online:

CDC on fluoridation: http://www.cdc.gov/fluoridation/