A study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry reports that older adults benefit significantly from fluoridation in water—even more than children.

In the study, Gerardo MaupomÉ, BDS, MSc, PhD, of the Indiana University School of Dentistry, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and his colleagues, investigated whether access to fluoridated community water reduced the amounts of dental fillings and associated costs needed by children, adults, and older adults. All three groups benefited, with older adults benefiting the most.

"Our finding that fluoridated water lowered the number of dental fillings confirms studies on younger people but breaks new ground on older individuals," MaupomÉ said. "While those we studied had dental insurance, many older adults, who are often retired, don’t have dental insurance, and so prevention of decay is very important. Community water fluoridation is a sound public health investment for people of all ages."

Most past research on community water fluoridation has focused on children. "Individuals are keeping their teeth through adulthood into their older years," MaupomÉ said. "We need to study dental health through all decades of life."