Can the fluoridation of public water supplies be documented as a scientifically proven method in the reduction of dental caries? Yes.
The effectiveness of water fluoridation has been well documented in the scientific literature for over 50 years. The initial studies in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Newburgh, New York; and Evanston, Illinois, proved unequivocally that fluoridation, at the optimal concentration of 1.0 ppm, reduces the incidence of dental caries by 50-70 percent (Arnold, et al, 1962 and Ast and Fitzgerald, 1967). A review of the literature showed that, in the United States alone, 113 studies were analyzed for caries effectiveness. Effectiveness ranged between 15-60 percent, depending upon age group and type of teeth (Murray, 1993). It has also been demonstrated that caries will increase if water fluoridation is discontinued in a community for an extended period. One example is in Antigo, Wisconsin. Antigo started fluoridating its community water supplies in 1949 and discontinued it in 1960. Five and one-half years later, second graders had more than 200 percent more decay, fourth graders had 70 percent more, and sixth graders had 91 percent more decay than those of the same age in 1960 (Lemke, et al, 1970). Such accumulation of scientific evidence has consistently proven that children, adolescents, adults, and seniors show a lower caries prevalence in fluoridated communities.
Arnold, R., Jr. et. al. 1962. Fifteenth year of the Grand Rapids fluoridation study. J. Amer. Dent. Assoc. Dec. 1. 65-781.
Ast, D. and Fitzgerald, B. 1967. Effectiveness of Water Fluoridation. J. Amer. Dent. Assoc. Jan. 74:2.
Murray, J. 1993. Efficacy of preventive agents for dental caries, systemic fluoride: water fluoridation. Caries Research. 27:2-8.
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