Fluoride in drinking water cuts tooth decay in adults

March 5, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—An international study conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide has resulted in the strongest evidence yet that fluoride in drinking water provides dental health benefits to adults.

In the first population-level study of its kind in the world, researchers have found that fluoridated drinking water is preventing tooth decay for all adults regardless of age - and significantly for people who have had exposure to fluoride for most of their lives.

Conducted by the Australian Research Centre for Population (ARCPOH) at the University of Adelaide's School of Dentistry, the study adds to the established evidence that fluoride in drinking water has benefits for children.

The study looked at data from a random sample of 3800 Australians aged 15 and over. The results are now published online in the international .

"By looking right across the Australian population, we now have good evidence that fluoride in drinking water is effective in preventing tooth decay in adults," says co-author Professor Kaye Roberts-Thomson, Director of ARCPOH at the University of Adelaide.

"We've known for some time that fluoridated drinking water can prevent tooth decay in children, but this is the first time that research has conclusively shown this in an ."

The results show that adults with more than a 75% to water fluoridation have significantly reduced tooth decay (up to 30% less) when compared with those with less than 25% lifetime exposure.

"Those people who have had longer exposure to fluoride in water obviously will have the greater benefit. However, and this is an important aspect of the study, even those people who were born before water fluoridation existed have since received some benefit in their lifetimes," Professor Roberts-Thomson says.

"Given the ongoing controversy surrounding fluoridated water, especially in some parts of Australia, we should point out that the evidence is stacked in favour of long-term exposure to fluoride in drinking water. It really does have a significant dental health impact."

Explore further: Portland, Ore., approves adding fluoride to water

More information: jdr.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/03/01/0022034513481190

Related Stories

Sweet drinks need tooth decay warning

January 30, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers from the University of Adelaide say any health warnings about soft drinks should include the risk of tooth decay, following a new study that looks at the consumption of sweet drinks and fluoridated ...

Recommended for you

How to eliminate pain tied to tooth decay

November 17, 2015

Dual discoveries at USC propose a promising method to regrow nonliving hard tissue, lessening or even eliminating pain associated with tooth decay, which the National Institutes of Health calls the most prevalent chronic ...

Earliest evidence of dental cavity manipulation found

July 20, 2015

A large team of researchers with members from institutions in Italy, Germany and Australia has found what they claim is the earliest example of dental cavity manipulation. In their paper published in the journal Scientific ...

Researchers use light to coax stem cells to regrow teeth

May 28, 2014

A Harvard-led team is the first to demonstrate the ability to use low-power light to trigger stem cells inside the body to regenerate tissue, an advance they reported in Science Translational Medicine. The research, led by ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.