A new study has found that children drinking water with added fluoride helps dental health in adulthood decades later.
Matthew Neidell, a health policy professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, combined data from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention community health study and a water census to see the affects of drinking fluoridated water in the 1950s and 1960s on tooth loss in the 1990s.
For children whose adult teeth have not shown yet, fluoride still improves tooth enamel.
Fluoride also helps teeth damaged from the decay process and breaks down bacteria on teeth.
He says: ‘Your fluoridation exposure at birth is affecting your tooth loss in your 40s and 50s, regardless of what your fluoridation exposure was like when you were 20 and 30 years old.’
The researchers add that respondents who did not live in the same county their entire lives received differing amounts of fluoride in their water, which complicated study findings.
The study, which focused on tooth loss as an indication of overall oral health, could not adjust for factors such as use of fluoride toothpaste, which also provides a dose of fluoride.
The article has been published in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
Meanwhile, plans to fluoridate Hampshire’s water could be axed as health chiefs lose powers to approve the controversial scheme.
The Government has revealed councils are to be given responsibility for fluoridation part of a shake-up of the NHS that will see strategic health authorities (SHAs) axed.
The Department of Health (DH) will also examine if the law needs to be changed to ensure people have more of a say on any similar proposals.
Pressure is now mounting on South Central Strategic Health Authority to scrap its plans, and abandon its expensive defence of a High Court legal challenge over the way the project was approved.
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