Fluoride in tap water can improve dental health

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A new report has revealed that fluoride in tap water can improve the overall dental health of individuals and reduce the chances of tooth decay.

According to a report by Public Health England (PHE), those who live in areas with water fluoridation schemes in place are at less risk of tooth decay than those in other areas. This first national report on the scheme has indicated significant benefits.

In the part of the 20th century it was notes that there were lower levels of tooth decay in areas that contained a certain level of fluoride in drinking water. The last five decades have seen schemes being implemented in various areas across England, where the fluoride levels have been adjusted to try and copy the effect.

Six million people in England are covered by the 14 out of 152 local authorities that have implemented fluoridation schemes. The level in the water in these areas is adjusted to one part of the mineral to a million.

To obtain results stated in the report, experts took data linked to the dental health of 12-year olds with adult teeth and 5-year olds with baby teeth, from both non-fluoridated and fluoridated areas. They found that in the fluoridated areas, 15% fewer five-year olds indicated tooth decay that required intervention. When they added in ethnicity and deprivation, the figure increased to 28%.

For the 12-year old group, the figures were 11% and 21% respectively.

Areas which take part in the water scheme indicated 45% fewer hospital admissions related to tooth decay for children between the ages of one and four.

It was also discovered that the rate of bladder cancer and kidney stones were much lower in the areas that made use of the scheme. Although these findings are based on a rough analysis, experts found that the bladder cancer rate was 4.4% lower, and kidney stone episodes were 5.3% lower in areas that were fluoridated. However, they have stated that they need to do further research regarding these findings.

PHE have stated that in comparison they have found no evidence of any changes in the general health of the population in fluoridated areas, however the main benefits are obvious in overall dental health, compared to non-fluoridated areas.

Image credit: Canadian Family

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