Trinity Faculty Dublin researchers collaborating with College Faculty London have demonstrated for the primary time the low environmental footprint of water fluoridation in comparison with different preventive measures for tooth decay. The examine is printed within the British Dental Journal at the moment [Monday 29th August 2022].
Water fluoridation is thought to be probably the most vital public well being interventions of the 20th century. However because the local weather disaster worsens, the contribution of healthcare and the prevention of illness to the disaster have to be thought of. Motion is pressing.
Influenced by this urgency, researchers quantified the environmental affect of water fluoridation for a person 5 year-old baby over a one-year interval and in contrast this to the normal use of fluoride varnish and toothbrushing programmes, which happen in chosen faculties throughout the UK, and internationally.
Right this moment, over 35% of the world’s inhabitants have entry to water fluoridation, with research displaying vital reductions in dental caries. While knowledge on the scientific effectiveness and value evaluation of water fluoridation can be found, there was no knowledge relating to its environmental affect so far.
To quantify this affect, the analysis crew carried out a Life Cycle Evaluation (LCA) by rigorously measuring the mixed journey, the load and quantities of all merchandise and the processes concerned in all three preventive programmes (toothbrushing, fluoride varnish programmes and water fluoridation) . Information was inputted into a selected environmental programme (OpenLCA) and the crew used the Ecoinvent database, enabling them to calculate environmental outputs, together with the carbon footprint, the quantity of water used for every product and the quantity of land use.
The outcomes of the examine, led by Brett Duane, Affiliate Professor in Dental Public Well being at Trinity Faculty, concluded that water fluoridation had the bottom environmental affect in all classes studied, and had the bottom disability-adjusted life years affect when in comparison with all different community-level caries prevention programmes. The examine additionally discovered that water fluoridation provides the best return on funding.
Contemplating the steadiness between scientific effectiveness, price effectiveness and environmental sustainability, researchers consider that water fluoridation must be the preventive intervention of alternative.
This analysis strengthens the case internationally for water fluoridation programmes to cut back dental decay, particularly in essentially the most weak populations.
Affiliate Professor Duane stated:
” Because the local weather disaster begins to worsen, we have to discover methods of stopping illness to cut back the environmental affect of our well being techniques. This analysis clearly demonstrates the low carbon affect of water fluoridation as an efficient prevention software. “
Professor Paul Ashley, Senior Scientific Lecturer (Honorary NHS Guide), UCL Eastman Dental Institute added:
“Renewed efforts must be made to extend entry to this intervention.”