50 years ago, fluoridation was promoted as a bone protector | Science News

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50 Years Ago

50 years ago, fluoridation was promoted as a bone protector

Excerpt from the November 5, 1966, issue of Science News

7:00am, November 17, 2016
girl drinking from fountain

DRINK UP  While fluoridated water isn’t the cure for everything that ails you, it does reduce tooth decay by 25 percent in kids and adults alike.

Fluoridation lessens disease in adults — Antifluoridationists … not only “have little concern for the preservation of children’s teeth,” but “are contributing to the ill health of all of us, young and old alike,” [said] Dr. D. Mark Hegsted, professor of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health.… [An] adequate intake of fluoride can keep bones healthy and prevent soft tissues from calcifying. — Science News, November 5, 1966


The role of fluoride in bone health has been much less clear than its benefit for teeth. Studies in the 1980s showed treatment with a calcium-fluoride mix increased bone mass (

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