Does Your City Care About Your Teeth?

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There has been a lot of debate as to whether or not fluoride in tap water is good or bad for the health of your teeth. Despite the fact that The American Dental Association has said that fluoride in our water supply is "one of our most potent weapons in disease prevention," some municipalities have pulled fluoride out of their public water supplies in the last few years, with the concern that the fluoride does more harm than good.

Now, new research has produced the strongest evidence to date that fluoride in drinking water does in fact provide dental health benefits to adults. The study, recently published in the Journal of Dental Research, is the first population-level study of its kind, and shows that fluoridated drinking water prevents tooth decay. 

The lead researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Adelaide, Australia, took at a national survey of almost 4,000 adults selected randomly from the population of Australia between the years 2004 and 2006. They found that adults who spent more than 75 percent of their lifetime living in communities that had fluoride in their water had significantly less tooth decay (up to 30 percent less) than other adults who had only lived less that 25 percent of their lifetime in cities with fluoridated water.

The ADA states that 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter, is the optimal level of fluoride that should be in your water. You can find out where your state ranks in fluoride levels here.