Water Fluoridation and Oral Health in Seniors
Fluoridation of public water supplies began in 1945 when Grand Rapids, Mich., adjusted the levels of this naturally occurring mineral in its water. Today, nearly three out of every four cities in the U.S. fluoridate their water supplies, and most dentists recommend periodic fluoride treatment especially in vulnerable populations. A recent study underscored the importance of fluoride in the fight against cavities.
According to the study, which was conducted by the School of Dental Science at the Trinity College in Dublin by researchers from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, older people who were exposed to more fluoridated water were more likely to retain their teeth as they aged than those who had less exposure to fluoridated water.
In Ireland, the fluoridation of public water supplies began in 1964 with a goal of preventing cavities in children, but little research had been conducted regarding the long-term effects on dental health. This study focused on adults who had been exposed for several decades and controlled for other factors that could affect tooth loss, including gum disease, access to dental care, dental trauma, and wear.
Fluoride helps harden dental enamel and interferes with oral bacteria growth. Although some controversy exists regarding its widespread use, there have been no peer-reviewed studies demonstrating detrimental effects on general health or clear evidence of toxicity when used as recommended.
Using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash can help you keep your teeth stronger and healthier. When possible, drink fluoridated water to strengthen your teeth, as well. Call our office today to learn more about the benefits of fluoride or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mondavi.
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