What will happen to teeth if you stop fluoridating water?

January 8, 2020  20:59

Back in 2007, the inhabitants of Juneau, the capital of Alaska, voted to stop the fluoridation of drinking water: they feared that fluoride could be harmful to health.

What did this lead to? Scientists from the University of Alaska at Anchorage responsed to this question.

In a study published in BMC Oral Health, specialists examined Medicaid data from two groups of children and adolescents aged 18 and under.

The first group included 853 patients who underwent caries treatment in 2003. They grew up in optimal conditions when the drinking water was fluorinated. The second group - 1052 patients - was treated for caries in 2012, and these children and adolescents grew up in adverse conditions (five years after the cessation of fluoridation).

Researchers noticed that children under 6 from the first group treated caries on average and its consequences 1.55 times a year, while in the second group this indicator increased to 2.52. Thus, after the termination of fluoridation, children went to the dentist once a year more often than when the water was fluorinated.

By the way, the effect was less pronounced in children and adolescents over 6 years of age. Researchers suggested that partial protection was linked to the effect of fluoride on tooth enamel at an early age (before the ban in 2007).

The study showed that without an optimal level of fluoride in drinking water and, therefore, in the mouth and saliva, teeth can form with weaker enamel and are not able to remineralize the early signs of decay, the experts said.

According to scientists, even when using fluoride-containing toothpaste, rinsing and professional prevention of caries, water fluoridation has a therapeutic and prophylactic effect for the population.

The cost of a fluoridation program, which actually consists in fluorinating water, is a penny compared to the cost of treating tooth decay, said Jennifer Meyer, lead author of the study.

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