You’ve probably heard that fluoride is excellent for your teeth, but did you know that fluoride has been added to our tap water since 1945? Discover more about this revolutionary event, how it came about, and the impact it had on citizens throughout the country.
The Impact of Fluoridation
This innovative action is arguably the greatest public health event achieved in western civilization. With that one decision to fluoridate the water, tooth loss and dental caries were reduced by 25% in adults and children. That’s 171 million Americans whose oral health was vastly improved, all from drinking their city’s tap water. Even today, at least 75% of the US population has access to tap water that contains fluoride.
Fluoridation – A Brief History
Every great discovery begins with a problem, and the problem in this case was that many kids were developing a mysterious brown stain on their teeth. Known as the Colorado Brown Stain, the cause of this condition eluded all experts at the time. That is until Dr. Frederick McKay teamed up with dental researcher Dr. G.V. Black, and the duo took it upon themselves to figure it out. While many had crazy theories about the problem, only Dr. McKay suspected that the root of the problem was in the water.
What Was Causing the Colorado Brown Stain?
McKay’s research took him to different cities as he interviewed many families where this disorder was prevalent. Thoroughly convinced that the problem derived from the water supply, McKay discovered that a new pipeline was the cause of the issue. Specifically, he proved that the Colorado Brown Stain was caused by an excess amount of water-borne fluoride that was found in the water supply.
Fluoridation Begins in Grand Rapids, MI
Dr. McKay strongly believed that adding a small amount of fluoride to the water supply would have a positive impact on the oral health of those who drank it. To test this theory, he picked Grand Rapids, Michigan, and as a result, citizens developed far fewer cavities than before.
Other Countries Follow America’s Lead
Once the results of the experiment were published in 1950, it was only a matter of time before other countries followed suit. New Zealand, Finland, and Brazil were the next countries to follow in America’s footsteps by adding fluoride to their water supplies. Eleven different countries fluoridate at least half of their water supply to this day.
Benefits of Fluoride
There are major reasons why dentists recommend fluoride and why it’s continuously added to our water supply. Fluoride is immensely beneficial to your teeth for the following reasons:
- Supports tooth enamel
- Leads to fewer cavities
- Decreases need for corrective dental care
- Reduced pain in the teeth
Benefits of Fluoridation in the Water
- After over 70 years, it’s proven to be safe and effective
- Fluoridation helps all people regardless of socioeconomic status
- Saves money by reducing the average lifetime cost per person
Other Sources of Fluoride
In addition to fluoridated tap water, it’s easy to find fluoride from dental products. This includes mouthwashes, toothpaste, and even fluoride supplements. Plus, your basic dental visits include a fluoride treatment that’s designed to strengthen your teeth and leave your mouth clean and fresh.
Ask Dr. Kovacevic about the Many Benefits of Fluoride
The research and actions of Dr. McKay improved the oral health of thousands of people. Today, few people know the story of how fluoride made it into our water supply, but the results continue to benefit everyone. When you’re ready for your next dental appointment, contact Dr. Kovacevic. His team in Greensburg will use fluoride and every other resource to give you the smile you deserve.