Fluoride Action Network

Antigo: Back to Fluorides

Source: Time Magazine | April 23rd, 1965

In 1949, Antigo, Wis. (present pop. 9,600), became one of the first communities in that state to put fluorides into its water supply in an effort to cut down tooth decay. But anti-fluoridation groups kept up a vigorous campaign, claiming that fluoride, a poison when taken in large doses, had cumulative toxic effects even when taken in small quantities. Despite doctors’ denials based on extensive surveys, worried Antigo citizens pushed through a 1960 referendum repealing fluoridation. But before fluorides were eliminated from the town’s water supply, the Wisconsin State Board of Health conducted a careful study of tooth decay among 600 of Antigo’s kindergarten and grade-school children. Antigo became, in effect, a large-scale laboratory for the testing of fluoride as a preventive of dental decay. Last fall the State Board of Health conducted another detailed study of Antigo’s schoolchildren. The results were eloquent testimony to the effectiveness of fluoridation. Four years after the repeal, cavities had increased a jarring 92% among kindergarten children, 183% among second graders, 41% among fourth graders. Convinced by the statistics of decay and by their own rising dentists’ bills, Antigo citizens voted to put fluorides back into their water supply. Last week the City Council agreed, and Antigo was back once more on the fluoridation bandwagon.