Water Fluoridation

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 philosophical reasons.

Survey of Anti-fluoridationists

  1. Philosophical
  2. Ecological
  3. Other
  4. Common sense
  5. Economic
  6. Lack of benefits
  7. Other damage
  8. Health hazard
  9. Religious
  10. Other

(Ernest Newbrun, DMD, PhD, JPHD 1996: Vol. 56, No. 5)


Last updated March 18, 2012

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