Correction: 60 percent fewer cavities!

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In yesterday s Dispatch, we noted how a disconcerting number of U.S. cities are opting out of fluoridated drinking water. We mentioned that this public health practice reduces the incidence of tooth decay by 25 percent nationwide. Well, it turns out that we actually understated the importance of water fluoridation for dental health. Dr. Chic Schissel, a dentist and friend of ACSH, wrote in to polish up our statistics:

[Yesterday s] Dispatch mentions that fluoridation of community water supplies (CWF) reduces dental decay by 25 percent. That is the difference noted today between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. But fluoridation reduces caries by more than twice that number. The original studies, using entire cities as controls, showed a reduction of caries around 60 percent. The number is only 25 percent today because of the ubiquity of fluoride in our food supply: We get fluoride most of the time that we eat canned food, drink soda, brush our teeth. Twenty five percent caries reduction is still significant, but if more communities stop fluoridating, that number will increase.