For many years, people considered water fluoridation an uncontroversial approach. Communities used it to help reduce the incidence of cavities in children and adults. Therefore, it was not well-studied.
However, in recent years, some controversy has arisen, and people want to know if fluoridation really works. As a result, researchers are now studying fluoridation in greater detail than ever. This includes two new studies published in the last month by the prestigious JAMA Pediatrics journal. Both these studies show that children benefit from fluoridated water in their communities. This, along with regular visits to a family dentist, helps children maintain good oral health.
A Large Study in New Zealand
The first study published looked at how children in New Zealand were impacted by the presence of fluoride in their community water. In this study, researchers looked at all the children who received a basic oral health screening at age 4 in the country, a total of nearly 276,000 children.
Although there were initially more severe cavities among the population that drank fluoridated water, the adjusted analysis showed that not having access to fluoridated water was associated with a 21% higher risk of severe cavities. They also found that unfluoridated community water was responsible for 5.6% of severe cavities in the community.
Cross-Sectional Analysis in the US
The most recent study, published in mid-August, used a cross-sectional analysis of Medicaid-enrolled children from 5 states. The study looked at Medicaid claims data for cavities and dental surgery under general anesthesia from 2011 to 2012. It then gauged these against the fluoridation status of water in the county.
They found that for each 10% increase in access to fluoridated water, there was a decrease in cavities of 0.45%. This difference remained when adjusted for other variables.
However, researchers found that the reduction in surgery under general anesthesia was significant in the raw data, but not after adjustment for confounding variables. They therefore concluded that fluoride in a community’s water supply definitely reduced the number of cavities, and might also reduce the number of dental surgeries.
Direct Fluoride Treatment Is More Effective
Passive exposure to fluoride through water fluoridation can help children avoid cavities. However, it’s not as effective as direct treatment with fluoride. In our office, we use silver diamine fluoride (SDF), a very safe and highly effective treatment option.
In addition to stopping future decay, SDF has the ability to stop the process of decay in teeth, killing oral bacteria and restoring essential minerals to your teeth.
Are Your Children Overdue for Dental Care in Fort Atkinson?
Preventive dental care is the best investment in your children’s current and future health. To keep their teeth healthy requires both good home hygiene routines and regular visits to a dentist for preventive care.