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In the early 1940’s, researchers sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered an inverse correlation between the prevalence of dental caries and the quantity of fluoride consumption and exposure. As a result of this finding, the Environmental Protection Agency under the advisement of the CDC instructed municipalities in the United States to fluoridate their public water systems in order to increase fluoride exposure. More recently though, other researchers have concluded that there is a positive correlation between another dental condition, dental fluorosis, and fluoride consumption and have made recommendations to decrease fluoride consumption due to the aesthetic and physical damage associated with dental fluorosis. The researchers also suggested that the African American population in municipalities with fluoridated water systems expressed significantly higher susceptibility to dental fluorosis due to biological susceptibility and cultural practices. A study was conducted on the concentrations of fluoride in public water systems of municipalities with large African American populations. Because the African American demographic is essentially being overdosed with fluoride, it can be suggested that communities with large African American populations ought to reduce the concentration of fluoride in their water systems or completely eliminate public water fluoridation and give residents the option of accessing fluoride in the form of dental products or fluoride supplements. Until fluoride reduction is achievable, public health officials need to inform and educate African Americans of the risks associated with dental fluorosis and the preventative measures that African Americans, as well as other individuals, can utilize to reduce their fluorosis susceptibility.

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Subject Major(s)

Biomedical Engineering

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Mary Boyes


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

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VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

Overuse of Fluoride in Public Water Systems: Stimulating Fluorosis Rather Than Preventing Dental Caries