Fluoridation improves everyone’s dental health

ADA president Dr Karin Alexander.
ADA president Dr Karin Alexander.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has noted the latest release of significant research that serves as a major addition to the scientific consensus that drinking fluoridated water is beneficial to all Australians’ dental health, coming as it does at a time when some local councils are rejecting the idea of fluoridation.

Not only does this new research further support the beneficial effects of fluoridation, previously shown for children, it shows the beneficial effects on adult populations. The release of the article, ‘Effects of Fluoridated Drinking Water on Dental Caries in Australian Adults’, in the Journal of Dental Research, shows that Australian adults with a >75 per cent lifetime exposure to water fluoridation have significantly reduced caries experience when compared with those with a <25 per cent lifetime exposure. This reduction has occurred in adult Australians born in both the pre- and post-fluoridation generation. The significance of this is that the introduction of water fluoridation to a community will benefit all residents, not only those who grow up drinking fluoridated water.

ADA President Dr Karin Alexander welcomed the findings. “Reducing the frequency of dental decay and disease is in everybody’s interests. We hope that all levels of government, and especially those Local Councils that are deciding whether to continue the fluoridation of their water supplies, seriously consider this latest scientific research report,” she said.

Based on the 2004-2006 Australian National Survey of Oral Health, these findings of the research provide further evidence to support the ADA’s oral health improvement campaign to increase the extent of fluoridation in Australia.

Dr Alexander added: “The ADA continues to be dismayed with the scare mongering from fringe groups that lack consideration of the national and international scientific evidence such as that outlined in the recently published report of the significant benefits for dental health that occurs from the fluoridation of water supplies.

“The ADA warns that removing fluoride from drinking water will cost the community more in the form of higher incidence of dental decay. Our already under-resourced public dental sectors will come under more pressure.”

The majority of the researchers that developed the ‘Effects of Fluoridated Drinking Water on Dental Caries in Australian Adults’ article are from the University of Adelaide.

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