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Arch Oral Biol. 1998 Dec;43(12):917-24.

The effects of fluoride concentration and the level of cariogenic challenge on caries development in desalivated rats.

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  • 1Center for Oral Biology, University of Rochester, NY 14642-8611, USA.


Dental caries is an infectious and transmissible disease that continues to affect the majority of people. The presence of carbohydrate, mainly sucrose in the diet, is an important factor in its occurrence. The amount of fluoride required for optimal protective effect where there is a high caries challenge is unclear. Differences in the intensity of cariogenic challenge, for whatever reason, may play a part in determining fluctuations in the effectiveness of fluoride. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of different concentrations of fluoride on the development of caries and explore the cariostatic effect of fluoride under various levels of cariogenic challenge. The study comprises two experiments. In experiment I, 60 desalivated Sprague Dawley rats infected with Streptococcus sobrinus were offered the following to drink for 21 days: group (1), sterile distilled water (SDW); (2) 10 parts/10(6) F SDW; (3) 20 parts/10(6) F SDW; (4) 30 parts/10(6) F SDW; (5) 40 parts/10(6) F SDW. In experiment II, eight groups of 9 rats were placed in a König Höfer programmed feeder and were exposed to different levels of cariogenic challenge through varying frequency of eating and offered water containing 10 parts/10(6) F. In experiment I, exposure to 20, 30 and 40 parts/10(6) F reduced caries development significantly: fluoride, at 10 parts/10(6), reduced the severity of the carious lesions. In this model of severe cariogenic challenge, the results suggest that elevated concentrations of fluoride might be effective in patients at high caries risk. In experiment II, fluoride reduced the incidence and severity of smooth-surface caries in all groups. The protective effect of fluoride decreased as the number of exposures to sugar increased. It is concluded that the effectiveness of fluoride is influenced by the level of cariogenic challenge and that consideration should be given to adjusting the level of fluoride exposure based on perceived caries risk, and that there is a maximum therapeutic effect of fluoride beyond which no additional protection can be expected.

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