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Radio Shows | Flouridation — History of a Public Halth Success Story | mp3wmawav

Today, we take healthy teeth for granted without realizing it wasn't that long ago many people lost their teeth by age 30.

It wasn't pretty until the second half of the 20th century when fluoride was added to our drinking water.

That was the major factor for lowering tooth decay in the U.S.

Yet today - only 60 percent of Americans drink fluoridated water.

The reasons range from the attitude that tooth decay is no longer a public health concern to unsubstantiated claims fluoridated water can cause cancer.

The fact is, it's a low cost way for all Americans to maintain healthy teeth which is crucial for good health.

Stepping back undercuts the years of work behind fluoride's discovery which began in 1901 with a dentist in Colorado Springs.

Frederick McKay found people who grew up there with grotesque brown stains on their teeth.

What's important is their teeth were resistant to decay.

Then enter H.V. Churchill, a chemist for ALCOA which made aluminum cookware.

Churchill was trying to discredit notions the cookware caused the ugly stains.

In doing so he discovered the water in those towns all had high levels of fluoride.

Churchill contacted Dr. McKay who provided him water samples and the dentist - after thirty years of research - finally confirmed it was fluoride.

The National Institutes of Health went on to determine a safe level of fluoride for fighting tooth decay and in 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city in the world to fluoridate its drinking water.

After 11 years they announced an amazing finding: the cavity rate of children dropped more than 60 percent.

Fast forward to today and it's hard to believe not all Americans are drinking fluoridated water.

In fact - the effort to increase fluoridation and even continuing it may face a real challenge in the 21st century.

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For more information…

The Centers for Disease Control publishes a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) in which they highlight significant events that impact the health of Americans. Those publications also include articles such as the one describing the history of water fluoridation.
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The prestigious scientific journal Nature published a short article on the history of fluoridation.
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The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has another well written article on the subject of fluoridation with some interesting photos.
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In order to dispel some misinformation about water fluoridation that can be found on the web, we will provide some links to accurate information of the value of fluoridated water and discussions about the risks if any.
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