Fluoride Action Network

Obituary. H. Trendley Dean, early investigator and promoter of water fluoridation

Source: The New York Times | May 15th, 1962

Special to The New York Times

CHICAGO, May. 14 – Dr. H. Trendley Dean, a pioneer in determining effects of fluoridated water on tooth decay, died yesterday in Marine Hospital. He was 68 years old.

Dr. Dean joined the American Dental Association’s research council in 1953 and served as secretary of the council until his retirement in 1959. He was with the United States Public Health Service for more than thirty years before joining the A. D. A.

Survivors include his widow, Ruth; three daughters Mrs. Dorothea McKiernan, Ruth and Mary; his mother, Rosalie, and five grandchildren. The family home is in Evanston.

Studied Discolored Teeth

While serving with the United States Public Health Service during the Nineteen Thirties, Dr. Dean learned that the teeth of children in certain towns were discolored with ugly brown spots.

His experin1ents showed that this “mottled enamel” condition was caused by fluorine in the water used for drinking and cooking. Further study sl1owed, however, that the con1ition did not occur when the amount of fluorine was less than one part to a million parts of water, and that dental decay was reduced by the presence of the fluorine.

After long investigation of the question, the New York State Department of Health decided, in 1944, to experiment with fluoridated water at Newburgh and Kingston. In 1955 Dr. Dean reported to the A. D. A. that the “consistent reduction in dental decay” at Newburgh and two other cities where fluoridated water was used, had been “striking.”

Opponents of fluoridation charged that its introduction would force everyone to ingest fluorine whether they wished to or not, and that tooth decay should be controlled by checking the consumption of candy and refined sugar products by children.

In New York City a proposed resolution for water supply fluoridation has never been voted on by the Board of Estimate. The issue has remained one of extreme controversiality.

Dr. Dean received the Gorgas Award of the Association of Military Surgeons in 1949, while serving as director of the National Institttte of Dental Research, a post he held from 1948 to 1953.

Dr. Dean was born at Winstanley Park. Ill., and received his D. D. S. at St. Louis University in 1916.

*Original pdf obituary online at http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/dean-trendley.obit_.may-15-1962.pdf


Also see 1967 obituary for Francis Arnold, U.S. Dental Head, Ex-Officer of Public Health Service