drinking water fluoridation and childrens health page

J Am Dent Assoc, Vol 139, No 2, 133.
©2008 American Dental Association

 

 


NEWS

Older Adults Benefit Most From Fluoridation

Older adults benefit more significantly from fluoridation than do children, according to a study published in the Fall issue of Journal of Public Health Dentistry.

Dr. Gerardo Maupomé, Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indianapolis, and colleagues investigated whether access to fluoridated community water reduced the number of restorations placed in and associated costs incurred by children, adults and older adults. All three groups benefited, with older adults benefiting the most.

All study participants were members of a dental health maintenance organization and, as such, had access to dental care through dental insurance.

"Our finding that fluoridated water lowered the number of dental fillings confirms studies [of] younger people but breaks new ground [for] older individuals," said Dr. Maupomé. "While those we studied had dental insurance, many older adults, who are often retired, don’t have dental insurance, and so prevention of decay is very important.

"Community water fluoridation is a sound public health investment for people of all ages," said Dr. Maupomé. "Much of the focus of research on community water fluoridation has been on children. There has been significantly less research on adults and even less on older adults.

"[People] are keeping their teeth through adulthood into their older years," said Dr. Maupomé. "We need to study dental health through all decades of life."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided funding for this study to Kaiser Permanente through a contract with the Alliance for Community Health Plans.

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“The fact is that I started out as somewhat skeptical and cautious about fluoridation. But then I became a firm believer as proof was assembled by scientists that fluoridation of a water supply will reduce the production of tooth cavities (our most prevalent disease) by 60%, and, just as important, that no disease or defect is caused by this procedure. What particularly allayed my early doubts about adding a chemical to public water supplies was learning that fluoride has always occurred naturally in water supplies.” Dr. Benjamin Spock
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