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Br Dent J. 2011 May 28;210(10):E17. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2011.388.

Modelling the impact of process variables in community fluoridated milk schemes on a population of UK schoolchildren.

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  • 1Manchester University Dental School, Higher Cambridge Street, Manchester, M15 6LP.



Dental caries is a public health problem. Fluoridated milk (FM) schemes are used as a preventive measure. The impact of process variables in these schemes is not understood.


Process variable data on the number of days of consumption, attendance, volume consumed, parental consent together with the proportion of children drinking FM at 7- and 11-years old were aggregated from eight schemes in the UK. The impact of process variables was modelled in an 'averaged' scheme (reduced in effectiveness by process variables) and compared with a notional 'ideal' one in which no process variables operate. Parental consent was analysed according to socio-economic groupings.


Proportion of days per year FM was consumed: 0.52. Values for process variables were: attendance rate 0.94; proportion of milk consumed 0.91; proportion of children with parental consent at 5 years 0.65; proportion drinking FM at 7 and 11 years respectively 0.54 and 0.27. No clear trends were observed for parental consent across socio-economic groupings.


Modelling suggests that due to the cumulative impact of process variables, there is cause for concern about the effectiveness of FM schemes as currently managed in the UK as a standalone public health measure for the prevention of caries.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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