Government-Backed Study Supports Water Fluoridation

April 1, 2017 by Dr Rahul Doshi

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A new report released by Public Health England (PHE) has supported water fluoridation as a means to reduce rates of tooth decay and improve children’s dental health.

The report highlights the fact that tooth decay, or dental caries, is found less commonly among children living in communities implementing water fluoridation schemes than in children from other communities.

PHE found that the number of children admitted to hospital for tooth decay is 45% lower in water fluoridated areas, compared to communities where water has a low fluoride content. Tooth decay was 28% lower among five-year-old children and 21% lower among 12-year-old children on average. The difference was most notable among children coming from the most deprived areas, PHE said.

The report also stated that there was no evidence that water fluoridation caused adverse health effects, such as hip fracture, cancer, osteosarcoma and Down’s syndrome.

Potentially increased rates of developing these and other diseases have been cited as the main argument against water fluoridation but the study found no link between higher fluoride concentration and these conditions.

However, communities with fluoridated water had a lower chance of developing kidney stones and bladder cancer, the report said, even though it warned that these should not be interpreted as evidence for “protective effect.”

Sue Gregory, director of Dental Public Health at PHE, commented that the findings were a clear sign that water fluoridation had a positive effect on children’s dental health and overall well-being. The fact that fluoridation can narrow the gap between dental care received by children in the wealthiest areas and the most deprived ones is of particular importance, she added.

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