Modern miracles: 10 ways we beat disease over the last century

From the year 1900 to 1999, our nation pulled off 10 big accomplishments in healthy living. The end result of those 10 wins for health? Americans live 25 years longer. CDC called these accomplishments the Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century. We call them modern miracles. These modern life-saving miracles include ... Seat belts. And refrigerators. Vaccines and hand-washing. Indoor plumbing and toilets. The pill. And ... Cavity-fighting fluoride.

Explore our interactive graphic of CDC's famous list, and learn more about the science of public health — the science that added 25 years to our life expectancy.

Click any icon to see history and graphics

    We love science    
    We love public health    

Want more essential info about the Modern Miracles?   We've got you covered in a We  science feature addressing basics on:
  • What exactly is public health?
    (A science for preventing disease)
  • Who is CDC?
    (9000 scientists who work for America)
  • Where can you find the original list of the 10 Great Public Health Achievements from CDC?
    (CDC's premier journal, MMWR)
Get the details in: What is public health? What is CDC? All about the Modern Miracles.

Publicize public health wherever you go

Get Modern Miracles gear in our science store

T-shirts, tanks, mugs, magnets & more featuring
CDC's 10 great public health achievements

Shop for science now

Icons of T-shirt, tank top, mug for shop box to get fluoride and public health gear

Pull off 10 public health breakthroughs, live 25 years longer

a.k.a. the scientists our nation hires to protect the public's health and prevent disease

The arrow pointing from CDC definition to CDCU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn't simply name fluoridation as one of the top public health measures of the 20th century and leave it at that.

The wellness experts at CDC are still at it, now that we're well into the 21st century. Over 9000 scientists at CDC are hard at work for America — doing more science and public health for the nation.

What do CDC, the nation's leading scientists in public health, think about fluoride now? They continue to value fluoride and fluoridation as a cavity fighter — to this day — for both children and adults, throughout our lives.

But you don't have to take our word for it.

You can see what CDC says for yourself.  CDC has info about fluoride in water on their main community water fluoridation page.  They also provide a general FAQ about fluoride.

Wellbee the public health mascot presenting fluoride questions

You can also get info from CDC on all kinds of questions. Such as...

Is fluoride bad for you when it's too high in well water?  (Yup)

When might you need to use a fluoride water filter for well water?  (If your water is >2 mg F/L)

When do oral health experts recommend you use fluoride toothpaste, rinse, and varnish in addition to fluoridated water?
        (Toothpaste: twice a day)
        (Rinses: in consultation with a dentist)
        (Varnishes: twice a year if your dentist recommends varnishes for you)

What does fluoride do at the right amounts?
        (Strengthens kids' teeth as they grow.  Remineralizes your enamel after acid from bacteria has leached minerals out.)

Why is there a cartoon bee presenting this information to me?
        (That's Wellbee, CDC's public health mascot from the early 1960s.  He's presenting you info because he's an expert in wellbeing :)

Can't get enough public health? Want to delve into even more healthy goodness?

Yes?  Great!  We do, too!

How about even more in-depth explorations of CDC's scientific opinions about the history and current practice of this public health measure? We're working to put together everything you could possibly want to know about fluoride as one of CDC's top 20th-century public health achievements and CDC's current recommendations and evidence for fluoride and fluoridation.

And you can help.

You can help us get cool, reliable, real science up on the web...