Fluoridated tap water benefits not just kids, but as a new study confirms, older adults also.
Fluoridation has been known to prevent tooth decay for over half a century. Now, researchers led by Gerardo Maupome, B.D.S., M.Sc., Ph.D., of the Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, found that the benefit that older adults get from fluoridated water is even more significant than that of children.
As a part of the study the researchers checked whether access to fluoridated community water reduced the amounts of dental fillings and associated costs needed by children, adults, and older adults.
All three groups benefited, with older adults benefiting the most.
"Our finding that fluoridated water lowered the number of dental fillings confirms studies on younger people but breaks new ground on older individuals," Dr Maupome said.
"While those we studied had dental insurance, many older adults, who are often retired, don't have dental insurance and so prevention of decay is very important. Community water fluoridation is a sound public health investment for people of all ages.
"Much of the focus of research on community water fluoridation has been on children. There has been significantly less research on adults and even less on older adults.
Individuals are keeping their teeth through adulthood into their older years. We need to study dental health through all decades of life," said Dr. Maupomé.
The study is published in the Fall issue of the Journal of Public Health Dentistry.