John E. Echternacht: Practitioner and community leader

James T. Rule, Muriel J. Etebeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For Minnesota dentists with long memories, Dr Jack Echternacht is a legendary figure. He graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1943. Except for a 3-year enlistment in the Navy during World War II, he has made his home and his professional life in Brainerd, on the edge of Minnesota’s lake country. A few years after he started his general practice, reports began to appear about the striking reduction of dental caries in children’s teeth when fluoride was placed in the drinking water. Excited by these prospects for better oral health, Dr Echternacht led a Chamber of Commerce initiative in 1954 to introduce fluoride into Brainerd’s water supply. What seemed at first an easy victory turned into a 30-year struggle. Dr Echternacht’s determination, persistence, and leadership during this fight for fluoridation led to his selection as a moral model in dentistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-683
Number of pages11
JournalQuintessence international
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

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