Fluoridation Exposure At Birth Is Affecting Your Tooth Loss

Tooth loss, or edentulism, is when one or more teeth fall out or are extracted due to injury or disease such as mouth trauma, tooth decay or gum disease.
 
Kids, adults and seniors are all at risk for tooth loss, especially if proper oral hygiene is not practiced. Although tooth loss is typically associated with the elderly, research suggests that nearly 27 percent of patients experience their first tooth loss between the ages of 21 and 30. Tooth loss is expected to increase with aging baby boomers, perpetuating a phenomenon among a generation of people that saw their parents fall victim to tooth loss due to lack of dental care. 
 
Kids:  As kids become more active, they are susceptible to two types of traumatic tooth loss – premature loss of a baby tooth or loss of a permanent tooth due to injury or neglect. Children should wear protective mouth guards when playing sports, and parents should consult a dentist immediately in the case of an injury.
 
Adults: Most people do not know that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Tooth loss is also linked to smoking, heart disease and diabetes.
 
Seniors: As people age, plaque accumulates and becomes harder to eliminate.Gum recession, older fillings and dry mouth put seniors at a higher risk of losing their natural teeth.
 
Children drinking water with added fluoride helps dental health in adulthood decades later, a new study finds. 
 
In an article appearing in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health, Matthew Neidell reports a strong relationship between fluoride levels in a resident's county at the time of their birth with tooth loss as an adult. 
 
"Your fluoridation exposure at birth is affecting your tooth loss in your 40s and 50s, regardless of what your fluoridation exposure was like when you were 20 and 30 years old," said Neidell, a health policy professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. 
 
He combined data from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention community health study and a water census to see the affects of drinking fluoridated water in the 1950s and 1960s on tooth loss in the 1990s. 
 
"We know that the benefits of fluoridation are greatest from birth," said Howard Pollick, a professor of clinical dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco. "This recent study adds credence to that." 
 
For children whose adult teeth have not shown yet, fluoride still improves tooth enamel, the highly mineralized tissue on teeth's surface. Fluoride also helps teeth damaged from the decay process and breaks down bacteria on teeth. 
 
The researchers write that respondents who did not live in the same county their entire lives received differing amounts of fluoride in their water, which complicated study findings. The study, which focused on tooth loss as an indication of overall oral health, could not adjust for factors such as use of toothpaste, which also provides a dose of fluoride. 
 
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