By Sharon Stevens
Pevely, MO (KSDK) - Times are tight in Pevely, Missouri. The Jefferson County town needs to save money, so city leaders agreed to stop buying fluoride for the water supply.
Many communities add fluoride to the water system to help prevent tooth decay.
Click here for a fluoride map of Missouri
But Pevely says it just doesn't have the money anymore.
The Centers for Disease Control call water fluoridation one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.
In fact, the CDC estimates 74 percent of Americans are on community water systems that contain fluoride.
Click here for a spreadsheet of Missouri public water systems with natural fluoride
What affect will Pevely's decision have on its residents?
NewsChannel 5's Sharon Stevens spoke with health officials, including dentists, in the Pevely area and the said taking fluoride out of the drinking water could have devastating effects, maybe not now, but down the road.
Water, Pevely officials say, does not have to be fluorinated to be healthy.
Pevely is financially-strapped and the mayor and others say eliminating fluoride will save the city about $10,000 per year.
But the dentists say fluoride is essential to growing children.
Fluoride can be found naturally in water, but dentists say it's only in trace amounts.
The City of St. Louis recently reduced the amount of fluoride in its water system.
In Illinois, it is mandated that all water systems must have fluoride.