A new study has revealed that water with fluoride in it doesn’t harm a child's early brain development.
Researchers from The University of Queensland observed 2,682 children between the ages of five and 10 from Australia's National Child Oral Health study and followed up on them seven years later.
Scientists analysed the early brain development between children who consumed fluoridated water and those who didn’t.
Professor Loc Do from The University of Queenland's School of Dentistry said of the study: “We found emotional and behavioural development, and functions such as memory and self-control, were at least equivalent to those who had no exposure to fluoridated water.
“In other words, there was no difference in child development and function related to fluoridated water.
“This finding shows that consuming water with fluoride at levels used for public supplies in Australia is safe and it supports continuing and expanding fluoridation programs.”
According to the American Dental Association, studies have shown that fluoridated water can prevent decay in children’s teeth by as much as 60 per cent.
Professor Loc Do added: “A small but vocal group of people sometimes claims that water fluoridation can have adverse neurodevelopment effects, especially in young children.
“This is an important message because fluoride is extremely effective in preventing tooth decay and its use in water and toothpaste is credited with significant improvements in child dental health in Australia.”
He continued: “This concern can impact community and public health support for the practice, but our research provides reassurance that it is safe and supports its expansion into more communities."
Approximately 90 per cent of the Australian population has access to fluoridated water, whereas only 71 per cent of Queensland residents have access.
However, Dr Do said that most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remote communities weren’t covered in the longitudinal study as many children were not receiving the same amount of health care in these regions.
“These are areas which already have a recognised health gap, so it’s in effect a double-hit for those communities,” he said as per The Sydney Morning Herald.
Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent diseases in early childhood.
According to the Australian Government, 41.7 per cent of children aged 5-10 years and 23.5 per cent of children aged 6-14 years had dental caries.
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