Apparently flourinated water helps stop tooth decay. So I have some quesions about this.

Firstly how does it stop tooth deacy?


Secondly, how was it found that out of all the chemicals, it is flouride that stops tooth decay and nothing else?

  • $\begingroup$ What research of your own have you done on this topic? If you look at the related questions on the sidebar you will see that there is one entitled "How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?" which is your first question. Please check out previous questions before posting. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of How does fluoride prevent tooth decay? $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 14:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @David that's a totally different question. $\endgroup$
    – zooby
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ Please don't post answers in comments. @zooby it seems like you have 2 questions here, one of which is answered already elsewhere. If your question is totally different, then that part you wrote in your body must not be part of your question, so you should edit it out. Otherwise, people might think it looks like the same question and it will be closed as a duplicate and you won't get an answer to your actual question. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


There is an interesting historical story of fluoride use in prevention of dental caries. Interestingly the journey started with a "mysterious disorder-fluorosis."

In 1909 Dr. McKay (r) persuaded the Colorado State Dental Association to invite Dr. Green Vardiman Black (l), one of the nation's most eminent dental researchers, to attend 1909 convention where McKay's findings were to be presented. The two men began joint research and discovered other areas of the country where brown staining of teeth occurred.

Fluoride research had its beginnings in 1901, when a young dental school graduate named Frederick McKay left the East Coast to open a dental practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado

McKay collected the samples. And, within months, he had the answer and denouement to his 30-year quest: high levels of water-borne fluoride indeed caused the discoloration of tooth enamel.

Dr Dean recalled from reading McKay's and Black's studies on fluorosis that mottled tooth enamel is unusually resistant to decay. Dean wondered whether adding fluoride to drinking water at physically and cosmetically safe levels would help fight tooth decay.

This finding, considering the thousands of participants in the study, amounted to a giant scientific breakthrough that promised to revolutionize dental care, making tooth decay for the first time in history a preventable disease for most people.

These are excerpts from the article

Another reference In 1802, Sir James Chrichton Browne suggested the probable cause of dental caries as a change in bread, which did not have bran or husky part of wheat containing fluorine.

Now your next question on fluoride stopping the tooth decay. So yes apart from preventing tooth decay, research has found that fluorides like silver diamine fluoride can be treatment of choice for dental caries.

The silver component provides an anti-bacterial effect while the fluoride promotes remineralization of tooth structure.

I hope I have answered your question :)

  • $\begingroup$ @zooby you may accept the answer if you are satisfied so that in future this will motivate others to answer your questions $\endgroup$
    – Ojasvi
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 4:36

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