In 1973 the fluoridation of drinking water in the Dutch town of Tiel was discontinued. In order to monitor the effect of this measure, the caries experience in 15-year-old children was investigated annually from 1979 to 1988, both in Tiel and in Culemborg. In the latter town the drinking water had never been fluoridated. The caries data of 15-year-old children examined between 1968 and 1969 in Tiel (children having used fluoridated water from birth) and Culemborg were used as historical controls. In Tiel the mean number of DMFS increased between 1968/69 and 1979/80 from 10.8 to 12.7 (+18%) and decreased to 9.6 (-26%) in the following years; in 1987/88 the mean DMFS was 11% lower than in 1968/69. In Culemborg the mean DMFS score decreased between 1968/69 and 1987/88 from 27.7 to 7.7 (-72%). In 1968/69 the mean DMFS score in Tiel was 61% lower and in 1987/88 17% higher than in Culemborg. The question as to whether water fluoridation would have had an additional effect if it had been continued (presuming the application of existing preventive measures) cannot be answered, as there are no remaining communities with fluoridated water in The Netherlands.