Each time a child visits a dental office for a routine cleaning and check-up exam, they are also usually given a fluoride treatment. It is an important aspect of the exam because fluoride helps prevent tooth decay.
Where fluoride often isn’t routine is in our drinking water. Majority of practicing dentists in Bryn Mawr would support water fluoridation because of the positive effects it has on oral health. The water departments in the Philadelphia suburban area do NOT add fluoride to the water that is provided to it’s residents. The American Dental Association as well as the American Medical Association approve of it. The Center of Disease Control states, “Data have consistently indicated that fluoridation is safe and is the most cost-effective and practical means for reducing the incidence of dental caries (tooth decay) in a community.”
Bryn Mawr dentists and most around the country have been lobbying for the introduction and replacement of fluoride in the municipal water supply for decades. In our opinion many activist groups have wrongly lobbied for removing fluoride from drinking water. The risks are very small and the benefits are significant and well storied.
A recent study done in South Australia that observed 448 pregnant women and their subsequent children. The women were given dental care throughout their pregnancy as well as anticipatory guidance. When their children were born, 223 were placed in a treatment group and the rest in a control group. The children who were in the treatment group received a fluoride varnish treatment at 6, 12 and 18 months. The researchers then examined all the children again at age 2, and found that the children who were given fluoride treatment had fewer decayed teeth than the control group.
In the past few years there has been an increase in the incidence of decay in the general population. Most experts agree that this is a direct result of removing fluoride from the drinking water, and the increase consumption of bottled and purified water.
Although water fluoridation is controversial subject, making sure your child gets the necessary amount of fluoride while their teeth are developing is not. If you want to know any more details about this shortcoming in our public health systems or have any other questions please call us at 610-525-5497.