Some anti-fluoridation, and thus anti-science, advocates claim that fluoridation of water is unmerited because it is only of value to children, hence it should not be applied to a common resource utilised by all ages.
While much of the literature indeed focuses on the immense good fluoridation has on children (the acknowledgement of which in this argument, the anti-fluoridation advocate in fact must admit it is of value – undermining their own position), in truth fluoridation of drinking water is of benefit to all teeth, regardless of the age of the owner.
Oral bacteria, in the process of eating left over food particles in the mouth – a process of fermentation of carbohydrates – produce acids. These acids work to erode teeth, leading to dental caries – a process called demineralisation. Fluoridated drinking water inhibits this process.
So having a glass of fluoridated water following a meal helps to protect teeth.
However, this isn’t the only benefit. Fluoridated water goes a step further and assists with the remineralisation of teeth – fluoride can repair damage! (Featherstone, 1994, Rugg-Gunnand Do 2012, Slade et al 2013)
This occurs in the mouth and so is a process completely devoid of age discrimination. Fluoridated water protects the teeth of all people, from the first budding teeth to those from a smiling grandparent.