It's been ten years since the people of Juneau, Alaska succumbed to conspiracy theories and voted to ruin their kids' teeth by removing fluoride from the drinking water, and it shows.
A BMC Oral Health study by Jennifer Meyer (U Alaska), Vasileios Margaritis (Walden U) and Aaron Mendelsohn (Walden U) found that, on average, the families of unfluoridated kids of Juneau paid an extra $300 to have preventable cavities drilled and filled.
Fluoride costs pennies.
Those figures are based on the youngest children assessed in the study, aged under six years of age.
Among those patients, kids who were exposed to fluoride in their tap water had on average 1.55 caries procedures annually – but this jumped to 2.52 procedures annually for the children in the suboptimal group.
The effect was more subtle for age groups older than the 0 to <6 age group, but nonetheless, every age group analysed in the study (0 to <6, 0 to <7, 7 to < 13, 13 to 18, and 0 to 18) experienced higher levels of cavity procedures if they didn't have fluoride in their drinking water.
It's not known for sure why the cessation demonstrated less of an effect on older children, but the researchers suggest the older kids in the suboptimal cohort may have received a partial protective effect from any fluoride exposure when they were younger (ie. before 2007, when the fluoride ban kicked in).
Here's What Happened When an Alaskan City Took Fluoride Out of Their Drinking Water [Peter Dockrill/Science Alert]