Prior to the widespread use of water fluoridation, 98 out of
100 Americans experienced some tooth decay by the time they reached
adulthood. In the 1940s, with the
advent of public water fluoridation, there began a 56 % reduction in caries for
children 12 -14 years of age.
In general, children now show a 63 % caries reduction in the
primary teeth (Thylstrup, 1990) and a 20 - 40 % caries reduction over a
lifetime (U.S. Health and Human Services, 1994). The reduction in decay in the permanent teeth is not as
pronounced as it was in the early years, but there is still an 18 - 40 %
reduction in dental caries as reported by the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC MMWR, August, 2001).
The Centers for Disease Control recommend fluoridating
public water supplies.
Why has water fluoridation become political?
Although those people who oppose fluoridation often publicly
cite health concerns as the reason for their opposition, a professional poll of
anti-fluoridationists found that health concerns were actually number 8 on the
list of 10 concerns.
The primary reason people are opposed to fluoridation is for
Survey of Anti-fluoridationists
(Ernest Newbrun, DMD, PhD, JPHD 1996: Vol. 56, No. 5)