Fluoride is a tooth’s best friend, and today, we know a lot about how this essential mineral works to strengthen our smiles. Kids and adults alike benefit from the positive effects of fluoride treatments, so much so that it is present in our toothpaste, dental rinses, and even our water supply. As a matter of fact, it’s so common for cities to fluoridate their water, most of us don’t even think about it. But just when and where did this helpful practice start?
In the 1930’s, we began to discover the oral health benefits of fluoride and how it could prevent tooth decay. City governments started discussing the possibility of adding fluoride to the drinking water supply as a way to provide entire populations with safe, effective doses of the mineral. Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first metropolitan area to offer fluoridated water to its residents in 1945. After studying the program for nearly six years, researchers found a striking reduction in cavities for Grand Rapids children. Today, more than 72% of the U.S. population is served by fluoridated water systems.
There you have it! For 65 years, many teeth across America have enjoyed the benefits of a daily fluoride dose flowing right out of the tap. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has even recognized water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century, right alongside immunizations and motor vehicle safety.
If you’ve only been drinking bottled water, you might be missing out on a great perk for your smile. Fluoride is important, so if your family doesn’t drink tap water, make sure you mention it to your dentist at your next visit. He or she can recommend ways to get plenty of this necessary tooth booster!
To find out more about the fluoridated water in your community, visit the CDC My Water’s Fluoridation page.