Fluoridated Drinking Water—A Public Health Success Story

water1On Jan. 25, 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water. A follow-up study of almost 30,000 Grand Rapids schoolchildren showed a more than 60 percent drop in dental caries (tooth decay) after 11 years of fluoridation.

Fluoridation was a breakthrough in dental science because tooth decay, when left untreated, can lead to serious health problems, such as infections that can spread into the jaw.

Fluoride is an ionic compound derived from fluorine, which is the single most reactive element; it is naturally found in many rocks and in most all water sources, in rivers, lakes, wells and oceans. It works by binding to tooth enamel, which is primarily made up of hydroxylapatite, a crystal composed of calcium, phosphorus, hydrogen and oxygen. The fluoride replaces the hydroxyl molecule on hydroxylapatite, which makes the tooth more resistant to acid attack from bacteria.

Today, nearly 75 percent of the U.S. population served by public water utilities (over 210 million people) benefit from fluoridated water. In addition, almost every toothpaste on the market contains fluoride as an active ingredient.

Because of the important role it has played in the reduction of tooth decay, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Other ways you can help prevent cavities include regular brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist for regular six-month checkups. If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check out Dr. Douglas Angell. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

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