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Australian Study: Fluoridated Water Reduces Tooth Decay in Adults
April 24, 2013

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Greater lifetime exposure to water that contains fluoride makes for less tooth decay in Australian adults, says a study.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide and the University of North Carolina did the study. They looked at data from a national survey done in Australia between 2004 and 2006. The study included 3,779 people ages 15 and older.

Researchers learned how long each person had lived in areas with fluoridated drinking water. They also asked questions about oral health. People in the study had their mouths examined.

About half the people in the study were born before 1960. Eighty percent were born in Australia. About 58% brushed their teeth at least twice a day.

Researchers divided the people into four groups, based on the percentage of each person’s life that had been spent in places with fluoridated water.

They compared people who had been exposed to fluoridated water for at least 75% of their lifetimes with people who had been exposed for less than 25% of their lifetimes.

Compared with the low-exposure group:

  • The high-exposure group had an 11% reduction in the number of decayed, missing or filled teeth.
  • High-exposure people born before 1960 had a 30% reduction in the number of decayed, missing or filled tooth surfaces.
  • High-exposure people born after 1960 had a 21% reduction in the number of decayed, missing or filled tooth surfaces.

The authors write that their results "provide reasonable evidence of a causal, preventive effect" of fluoride in Australian adults.

The study appears in the April issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

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