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Study confirms positive effects of fluoridated drinking water

By Dental Tribune International
March 08, 2013

ADELAIDE, Australia: Researchers have found new evidence that fluoride in drinking water is effective in preventing dental caries. In the largest population-based study to date, they found that the substance provides dental health benefits to adults, particularly those who have been exposed to fluoride for most of their lives. *

The study was conducted at the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health at the University of Adelaide’s School of Dentistry. The researchers analysed data from a random sample of 2,270 Australians born before 1960 and 1,509 born between 1960 and 1990, a period during which implementation of water fluoridation increased significantly.

Although it is known that fluoridated drinking water can contribute to the prevention of tooth decay in children, the current study has provided evidence for this effect in adults for the first time, according to Prof. Kaye Roberts-Thomson, the centre’s director. Among other findings, her team found that adults who were exposed to fluoridated water for more than 75 per cent of their life had 30 per cent less tooth decay than those exposed for less than 25 per cent of lifetime.

According to the researchers, the findings on intermediate fluoridation exposure suggest a dose–response relationship. “Those people who have longer exposure to fluoride in water obviously will have a greater benefit,” Thomson explained. “However, even those people who were born before water fluoridation existed have since received some benefit in their lifetimes,” she added.

Data for the study was obtained from the 2004−2006 Australian National Survey of Adult Oral Health.

The study was published online on 1 March in the Journal of Dental Research ahead of print.

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