Water fluoridation saves poorest children from hospitalisation
Research from the University of Canterbury (UC) GeoHealth Laboratory shows that children in our most deprived areas benefit from better dental health if water is fluoridated.
The study, published in the prestigious International Journal of Epidemiology, shows that the presence of community water fluoridation (CWF) was related to reduced dental hospitalisations in children aged 0 to 4 and 5 to 12 years.
The study then considered the moderating effect of CWF on the association between area-level deprivation and dental ASH, “as we know that higher rates of dental ASH are present in areas with higher area-level deprivation,” Dr Hobbs says.
“Our study is important as it uses nationwide data that was pooled over six years. It shows that children aged 0 to 4 years and living in the most deprived areas showed the greatest effect of community water fluoridation on dental ASH rates, and the biggest health gain was for those with the worst socioeconomic disadvantage.”
According to the study, childhood ambulatory sensitive hospitalisations (ASH) account for about 30% of all acute and arranged medical and surgical discharges in Aotearoa New Zealand.