Issue Date: December 7, 2009
Socioeconomic Status And Cavities
A STATISTICAL FACTOR not mentioned in the review of "The Fluoride Wars: How a Modest Public Health Measure Became America's Longest-Running Political Melodrama" is that of the confounding variable of the effect of socioeconomic status on dental health (C&EN, Sept. 7, page 72). Some of the communities experiencing good results after fluoridating their water supply may simply be well-off, with generally better dental care for their children.
A study of various neighborhoods of a city without fluoridation, such as Portland, Ore., compared with the neighborhoods of another large city with fluoridation might help us understand the effect of fluoridation of the water supply on the incidence of dental caries.
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