• Harold H. Messer
Part of the Biochemistry of the Elements book series (BOTE, volume 3)


Fluorine has been known to occur in biological tissues for almost 200 years, with demonstrations by Berzelius others early in the nineteenth century of its occurrence in teeth. Fluorine first attracted widespread attention in biology because of its chronic toxic effects on both teeth and bone. The decade of the 1930s was remarkable for the association of both mottled enamel and bone changes with excessive fluorine ingestion. Mottled enamel had been recognized as a distinct entity in the late nineteenth century, and the defect was subsequently ascribed first to the drinking water and then, in 1931, to fluoride in the drinking water. The association of a low caries rate with mottled enamel the demonstration that caries reduction could be achieved with fluoride intakes too low to cause mottled enamel led to the adoption in 1945 of artificial water fluoridation as a public health measure.


Fluoride Concentration Ionic Fluoride High Fluoride Fluoride Content Fluoride Level 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold H. Messer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oral BiologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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