U.S. health officials report that tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. Each year, more than 51 million school hours are lost because of dental health-related illnesses.
According to a new study published in a recent issue of General Dentistry, drinking fluoridated water is the most cost-effective and efficient way for children to combat tooth decay and prevent cavities, ScienceBlog.com reports.
"Fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before damage is even visible," said lead author C.H. Chu. "Studies have confirmed the most effective source of fluoride to be water fluoridation."
Chu and his colleagues found the second most cost-effective source of fluoride to be varnish, which can quickly be applied by a dentist or dental hygienist.
While the researchers looked into the effectiveness of other fluoridated products - such as toothpastes, gums or mouthwashes - they determined that only varnish and water fluoridation are capable of reducing cavities by a significant percentage.
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