Another Study Proves Fluoridation Stops Cavities

Dentistry Today


Though previous Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy has called the fluoridation of drinking water in the United States one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century, few studies over the past three decades have investigated its impact on the nation’s dental health. One recent study, though, evaluated associations between the availability of community water fluoridation and dental caries experience in the nation’s child and adolescent populations.

In this large study, 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 were merged with dental examination data from 10 years of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (1999 to 2004 and 2011 to 2014).

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

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 children and adolescents in the United States, the researchers said. The study also boosts the evidence by showing that the benefit is most pronounced early in life in the primary teeth of children age 2 to 8 years old, they added.

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

The study, “Water Fluoridation and Dental Caries in U.S. Children and Adolescents,” was published by the Journal of Dental Research.

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