For decades, the American Dental Association (ADA) has long warned that if communities end their water fluoridation programs, the rate of tooth decay will increase. In it’s “Fluoridation Facts” brochure, the ADA states:

“Dental decay can be expected to increase if water fluoridation in a community is discontinued for one year or more, even if topical products such as fluoride toothpaste and fluoride rinses are widely used.”

At the turn of the 21st century, however, a flurry of 4 published studies reported that tooth decay rates did not increase in communities that had ended fluoridation. In fact, in each of the studies, the rate of tooth decay continued to decrease.

The fact that tooth decay decreased following the end of fluoridation is consistent with the fact that tooth decay rates in all western nations have sharply declined over the past 50 years irrespective of whether the country fluoridates its water, or not.

Fluoridation Cessation Studies

1. Canada:

“The prevalence of caries decreased over time in the fluoridation-ended community while remaining unchanged in the fluoridated community.”
SOURCE: Maupome G, Clark DC, Levy SM, Berkowitz J. (2001). Patterns of dental caries following the cessation of water fluoridation. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 29: 37-47.

2. Finland

“The fact that no increase in caries was found in Kuopio despite discontinuation of water fluoridation and decrease in preventive procedures suggests that not all of these measures were necessary for each child.”
SOURCE: Seppa L, Karkkainen S, Hausen H. (2000). Caries Trends 1992-1998 in Two Low-Fluoride Finnish Towns Formerly with and without Fluoridation. Caries Research 34: 462-468.

3. Germany

“In contrast to the anticipated increase in dental caries following the cessation of water fluoridation in the cities Chemnitz and Plauen, a significant fall in caries prevalence was observed.”
SOURCE: Kunzel W, Fischer T, Lorenz R, Bruhmann S. (2000). Decline of caries prevalence after the cessation of water fluoridation in the former East Germany. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 28: 382-9.

4. Cuba

“In 1997, following the cessation of drinking water fluoridation, in contrast to an expected rise in caries prevalence, DMFT and DMFS values remained at a low level for the 6- to 9-year-olds and appeared to decrease for the 10/11-year-olds. In the 12/13-year-olds, there was a significant decrease, while the percentage of caries-free children of this age group had increased…”
SOURCE: Kunzel W, Fischer T. (2000). Caries prevalence after cessation of water fluoridation in La Salud, Cuba. Caries Research 34: 20-5.