Fluoridating water supplies has long been considered a public health necessity for its benefits on children’s teeth. Pediatric dentist offices across the globe have long maintained that fluoridated water’s ability to prevent cavities and tooth decay in young patients.
But did you know that drinking fluoridated water can also benefit older adults and seniors, as well?
A new study conducted at Trinity College Dublin’s dentistry school has found that drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth loss among adults older than 50 years old.
According to the New York Times, the study, which was part of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging, observed 5,000 adults aged 50 and older and asked these participants to report the number of teeth they have. Seniors who lived in areas with fluoridated water supplies were more likely to have all their teeth.
About 85% of Ireland’s population has access to fluoridated water; the remaining 15% get their water from private wells and water sources. As in the U.S., fluoridation of public water has generated some controversy, despite the large body of research that proves it’s completely safe to drink.
However, the study also found, surprisingly, that water fluoridation has no effect on seniors’ bone density — disproving previous findings that had supported fluoridation’s ability to strengthen bone density among the aging.
Maintaining good dental health is linked to good overall health and well-being, especially among senior citizens. Gum and tooth disease has been closely linked to heart disease in recent studies conducted over the last decade or so — additionally, tooth loss can negatively impact one’s jaw structure and ability to eat and speak.
So the next time you enjoy a tall, cold glass of water, you can do so with the confidence that it’s helping you and your teeth.
What are your thoughts on this study’s findings? Have any other questions for us about financing dental care with dental insurance or how to find a dentist office near you? Share with us in the comments. For more, read this link.