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HPF paper discusses oral health at a population level

In the latest of HPF’s Keeping Up to Date series of peer-reviewed papers, Dr Kate Morgaine discusses how the fluoridation of community drinking water meets all the values and aims of health promotion.

“Oral health inequalities across the world are large and long standing, but not immutable,” says Dr Morgaine in her paper.  “Within New Zealand, dental caries is a significant disease that impacts both physical health and quality of life. A clear social gradient is also evident, with the heaviest burden being borne by those who experience the most deprivation in our society.

glass-of-water-cropped

“Fluoride is important in oral health and in the prevention of caries as it has three functions. It enhances remineralisation following consumption of food; once incorporated into the enamel is inhibits demineralisation; and it inhibits the ability of bacteria to adhere to, and thus attack, tooth enamel.

Fluoride is a naturally occuring mineral, but it’s concentration in local water supplies is wide ranging.  In some countries, fluoride levels are adjusted downwards to prevent the harmful effects of high doses.  In New Zealand, however, they are adjusted upwards to provide optimal health benefits.

26 March 2015

Jo Lawrence-King

 

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