Benefits l Fluoridation Facts 27 Noting the potential obstacles listed above, where feasible, community water fluoridation offers proven decay prevention benefits without the need for access to a health care professional or a change in behavior on the part of the individual. Simply by drinking water at home, school, work or play everyone in the community benefits regardless of socioeconomic status, educational attainment or other social variables.79 While dietary fluoride supplements can reduce a child’s risk of tooth decay, fluoridation extends that benefit to adults in the community. Additionally, the cost of dietary fluoride supplements over an extended period of time can be an economic concern to a family. In looking at overall costs, consideration should be given to the cost per person and the number of people who can benefit from a dietary fluoride supplement or community fluoridation program.77 13. The ADA Dietary Fluoride Supplements Schedule 2010 contains the word “none” in specific boxes. Does this mean the ADA does not recommend fluoride for children? Answer. No, that would be a misinterpretation of the purpose of the schedule. The schedule reflects the recommended dosage of fluoride supplements based on age and the fluoride level of the child’s primary source of drinking water, in addition to what would be consumed from other sources. Fact. The dietary fluoride supplement schedule8 (Table 1.) is just that a supplement schedule. Children residing in areas where the drinking water is not fluoridated will receive some fluoride from other sources such as foods and beverages. Dietary fluoride supplements are designed for children over six months of age who do not receive a sufficient amount of fluoride from those sources. The dosage amounts in the table reflect the additional amount of supplemental fluoride intake necessary to achieve an optimal anti-cavity effect. To reduce the risk of dental fluorosis, children under six months of age should not take dietary fluoride supplements. Additional information on this topic can be found in the Safety Section, Question 29. The dietary fluoride supplement schedule should not be viewed as a recommendation of the absolute upper limits of the amount of fluoride that should be ingested each day. In 2011, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine developed Dietary Reference Intakes, a comprehensive set of reference values for dietary nutrient values. The values present nutrient requirements to optimize health and, for the first time, set maximum-level guidelines to reduce the risk of adverse effects from excessive consumption of a nutrient. In the case of fluoride, levels were established to reduce tooth decay without causing moderate dental fluorosis.80 For example, the dietary fluoride supplement schedule recommends that a two-year-old child at high risk for tooth decay living in a nonfluoridated area (where the primary water source contains less than 0.3 ppm fluoride) should receive 0.25 mg of supplemental fluoride per day. This does not mean that this child should ingest exactly 0.25 mg of fluoride per day total. Instead, a two-year-old child could receive important anti-cavity benefits by taking 0.25 mg of supplemental fluoride a day without causing any adverse effects on health. This child would most probably be receiving fluoride from other sources (foods and beverages) even in a nonfluoridated area and the recommendation of 0.25 mg of fluoride per day takes this into account. In the unlikely event the child did not receive any additional fluoride from food and beverages, the 0.25 mg per day could be inadequate fluoride supplementation to achieve an optimal anti-cavity effect. Additional information on this topic can be found in the Safety Section, Question 23. The following statement is correct. “Fluoride supplement dosage levels have been lowered in the past as exposure to fluoride from other sources has increased.” Rather than being a problem, as those opposed to the use of fluoride might imply, this is evidence that ADA policy is based on the best available science. The ADA periodically reviews the dosage schedule and issues updated recommendations based on the best available science. In 1994, a Dietary Fluoride Supplement Workshop, co-sponsored by the ADA, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics, was held in Chicago. Based on a review of scientific evidence, a consensus was reached on a
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