- IU Historical Marker (2020)
Indiana University dedicated a historical marker in 2020 about the development of fluoride toothpaste. The marker text follows:
IU faculty members Harry Day, Josephy Muhler, and William Nebergall created a fluoride toothpaste, contributing to reductions in tooth decay around the world. As a dental student in 1945, Muhler tested fluoride compounds on the solubility of tooth enamel, determining that stannous fluoride was the most effective as remineralizing tooth enamel. After obtaining his DDS in 1948, Muhler worked with IU chemistry professors Harry Day and William Nebergall to refine a stannous fluoride dentifrice as he completed a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1951. After his appointment to the School of Dentistry faculty in 1952, Muhler’s team conducted controlled studies in Bloomington school children and their families in the early 1950s, demonstrating a 50% reduction in tooth decay using a stannous fluoride toothpaste. Patents were acquired, and Proctor & Gamble paid royalties for an exclusive contract to use stannous fluoride in its Crest toothpaste, the world’s first fluoride toothpaste, launched in 1955.