drinking water fluoridation and childrens health page


What would happen if there were no fluoride?

The rate of dental decay would undoubtedly much higher.  Here are some examples of towns which made the unhealthy mistake of removing fluoride from their water supply (thanks to the American Dental Association for providing this information):

Antigo, Wisconsin began fluoridation in June 1949, and ceased adding fluoride in November 1960. After five and one-half years without adequate
fluoride, second grade children had more than 200 percent more decay, fourth graders 70 percent more, and sixth graders 91 percent more than those of the same age groups in 1960. Residents of Antigo reinstituted fluoridation in October 1965, on the basis of the severe deterioration of their children's dental health. [Reference: Lemke C, Doherty J, and Arra M. Controlled fluoridation: the dental effects of discontinuation in Antigo, Wisconsin. JADA April 1970;80:782-86.]

Another study reported the relationship between fluoridated water and caries prevalence focused on the city of Galesburg, Illinois, a community whose public water supply was naturally fluoridated at 2.2 ppm. In 1959, Galesburg switched its community water source to the Mississippi river. This alternative water source offered the citizens of Galesburg a suboptimal level of fluoride, approximately 0.1 ppm. During this time when the fluoride content was below optimal, data revealed a 10 percent decrease in the number of caries-free 14 year-olds (oldest group observed), and a 38 percent increase in detectable carious lesions. Two years later, in 1961, water fluoridation at the recommended level of 1.0 ppm was instituted. [Reference: Way R. The effect on dental caries of a change from a naturally fluoridated to a fluoride-free communal water. J. Dent. Child 1964;31:151-7]
“The fact is that I started out as somewhat skeptical and cautious about fluoridation. But then I became a firm believer as proof was assembled by scientists that fluoridation of a water supply will reduce the production of tooth cavities (our most prevalent disease) by 60%, and, just as important, that no disease or defect is caused by this procedure. What particularly allayed my early doubts about adding a chemical to public water supplies was learning that fluoride has always occurred naturally in water supplies.” Dr. Benjamin Spock
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