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November 15, 1952


JAMA. 1952;150(11):1120-1121. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.03680110060016

The effectiveness of small amounts of fluoride in decreasing the incidence and extension of dental caries is now well established, at least in young persons who have not obtained full growth. However, the mechanism by which the cariostatic action of fluoride is produced is not yet completely understood. There are two main viewpoints. One is that fluoride decreases the solubility of the enamel in an acid medium, and another is that fluoride inhibits the growth of the acid-forming organisms in the mouth and thus indirectly decreases acid erosion. The former view was originally based on the observation1 in 1939 that powdered enamel or dentine from human teeth became much more resistant to dissolution in acid (pH 4) if it was first treated with sodium fluoride. A number of subsequent investigations have confirmed this claim. One study,2 for example, has demonstrated that the presence of fluoride in drinking water