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Eur J Oral Sci. 1996 Aug;104(4 ( Pt 2)):416-22; discussion 423-5, 430-2.

Reasons for the caries decline: what do the experts believe?

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  • 1Department of Cariology, Faculty of Odontology, University of Lund, Sweden.


The aim of this paper was to describe what experts of today believe are the main reasons explaining the caries decline seen in many westernized countries over the past 3 decades. We have collected the views of a number of international experts, trying to answer the specific question "What are the main reasons why 20-25-year-old persons have less caries nowadays, compared to 30 years ago?". A questionnaire was mailed to 55 experts with a number of thinkable explanations to be scored according to a predetermined scale. The 25 items were divided into main groups under the heading of diet, fluorides, plaque, saliva, dentist/dental materials and other factors. The experts were asked to think of a specific country or area, and also to specify whether the chosen area had water fluoridation or not. The main finding of our study, based on a 95% response rate, was that there is a very large variation in how the experts graded the impact of various possible factors. For the use of fluoride toothpaste, there was a clear agreement of a definite positive effect.

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