Adding fluoride to drinking water has been a great aid to people in the prevention of dental disease. I think it is one of the community services accomplished by dentist that dentist should be most proud of.
The fluoride ion comes from the element fluorine. Fluorine is the 13th most common element in the earth's crust and is never encountered in its free state in nature. It exists only with other elements as a fluoride compound. This form is found in rocks and soil everywhere and as water passes over them some fluoride ions are released into the water. All water contains some fluoride naturally. Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the amount of fluoride in the water to obtain dental benefits.
These dental benefits include the prevention of dental cavities. No one wants to go to the dentist for fillings and water fluoridation in some studies can prevent the incidence of tooth decay by 50%.
Fluoridating the water is one of the most cost preventive actions a community can do. In the United States the average cost is 50 cents per year per person! What a bargain.
The amounts of money saved and pain prevented by fluoridated water since 1945 are truly staggering. Allot of the efforts to introduce water fluoridation were spearheaded by dentist, who truly took their roles as preventer of disease seriously.