First Advisor

Lawrence Wallack

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Studies: Health Sciences and University Honors


Health Studies


Water -- Fluoridation -- United States -- Public opinion, Water -- Fluoridation -- United States -- History, Dental public health, Dental caries -- United States -- Prevention




This thesis explores different viewpoints on the history of community water fluoridation and reflects on the arguments made by the pro- and anti-fluoridationists in the United States. Community water fluoridation has been controversial in the United States since it was first proposed in 1945. Since then, fluoridation has been a major factor in reducing the prevalence and severity of dental cavities in the United States (U.S.).

Fluoride safely and effectively prevents dental cavities and is available from multiple sources. Community water fluoridation is one of these sources, providing fluoride to all people regardless of their position within the community. Even so, community water fluoridation has not been universally implemented despite efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) to support and promote it.

Fluoridation has been declared one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). In this study, I will review the literature on the history of community water fluoridation, comprised by scientific studies on its benefits and disadvantages. I will examine how the controversy surrounding this issue began, and how the anti-fluoridationists’ arguments have continued to influence some communities to vote against fluoridation. Finally, I will attempt to draw a conclusion as to why community water fluoridation has not been implemented in all cities, despite its overall health benefits.


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