Water fluoridation prevents dental decay in US youth


Water fluoridation

Water fluoridation prevents dental decay in US children and adolescents, a recent US study has found.

The study—which was published last month in the Journal of Dental Research—merged county-level estimates of the percentage of population with community water fluoridation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Water Fluoridation Reporting System with dental examination data from 10 years of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1999-2004 and 2011-2014).

The analysis showed that US children and adolescents with greater access to fluoridated drinking water were less likely to experience dental caries. Counties in which over 75 per cent of the population had access to community water fluoridation saw a 30 per cent reduction in dental caries experience in the primary dentition, and a 12 per cent reduction in dental caries experience in the permanent dentition, compared to counties in which less than 75 per cent had access to community water fluoridation.

The findings are consistent with evidence from the last half century showing that community water fluoridation continues to provide a substantial dental health benefit for US children and adolescents.

The current study boosts the evidence by showing that the benefit is most pronounced early in life, in the primary teeth of two to eight-year-olds.

“This study confirms previously reported findings and provides additional evidence in support of water fluoridation as a core public health intervention promoting oral health,” American Association for Dental Research president Maria Ryan said.

“AADR supports community water fluoridation as a safe and effective, evidence-based intervention for the prevention of dental caries and this report further adds to that evidence base.”

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