U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Fluoride Prevents Tooth Decay

Posted & filed under Fluoride, Oral Health, and Access to Care.

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Dentistry found that fluoride treatments effectively reduced the need for restorative dental work (e.g. fillings, root canals, crowns, etc) for high-risk VA patients. This study demonstrates the success of a large-scale dental care system in increasing access to preventive care and reducing tooth decay.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, found that in 2012, 81 percent of VA dental clinics provided fluoride for at least 90 percent of their high-risk patients. These fluoride treatments resulted in a 10 percent decrease in the number of restorations performed, and an 8.6 percent reduction in patients who needed two or more restorations.

The VA treats millions of patients around the country every day, and reducing the need for costly restorations among even a small percentage of these individuals can result in significant cost savings to this public health care system. The authors of the study stated that “the system-wide clinical implications make these results extremely significant.” Further, the study underscores the continued benefits of fluoride throughout the lifespan, and the need to ensure everyone has access to its preventive health benefits.