Fluoride in drinking water prevents tooth decay in adults
Washington, March 12 : A new Australian study has confirmed that fluoride in drinking water prevents tooth decay for adults of all ages, even those who did not drink fluoride in water as children.
The researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Adelaide, Australia, analyzed national survey data from 3,779 adults aged 15 and older selected at random from the Australian population between 2004 and 2006. Survey examiners measured levels of decay and study participants reported where they lived since 1964. The residential histories of study participants were matched to information about fluoride levels in community water supplies. The researchers then determined the percentage of each participant's lifetime in which the public water supply was fluoridated.
The results show that adults who spent more than 75 percent of their lifetime living in fluoridated communities had significantly less tooth decay (up to 30 percent less) when compared to adults who had lived less that 25 percent of their lifetime in such communities.
"It was once thought that fluoridated drinking water only benefited children who consumed it from birth," explained UNC School of Dentistry faculty member Gary Slade.
"Now we show that fluoridated water reduces tooth decay in adults, even if they start drinking it after childhood. In public health terms, it means that more people benefit from water fluoridation than previously thought," he added.
The study has been published online in the Journal of Dental Research.