Seventy-five years ago, on Jan. 25, 1945, public health officials began an experiment in Grand Rapids, Mich., to prevent the pain, misery, and cost of tooth decay: adjusting the level of fluoride in drinking water. Cavity rates plunged with fluoridation.
Today, 211 million Americans have access to fluoridated water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hailed this strategy as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Yet as we celebrate this milestone, community water fluoridation faces a renewed threat from a recent study.