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J Dent Res. 1990 Feb;69 Spec No:751-5; discussion 820-3.

Fluoride in caries prevention: is the effect pre- or post-eruptive?

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Department of Community Dental Health and Epidemiology, Netherlands Institute for Preventive Health Care, Leiden.


A longitudinal study of children from ages 7 to 18 showed that, if enamel lesions were included, the overall number was the same in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. However, a significant reducing effect of pre-eruptive fluoride could be seen in the number of dentinal lesions in a fluoridated area, provided that fluoride was also consumed post-eruptively for a considerable period of time. A precise estimation of both pre- and post-eruptive effects was obtained when teeth were classified according to their eruption time as related to the onset of water fluoridation. About 66% of the greatest reduction in pit and fissure caries came from pre-eruptive fluoride, while in smooth surfaces, this effect was reduced to 25%. In approximal surfaces, the reduction was due half to pre- and half to post-eruptive fluoride. Post-eruptive fluoride became more important with decreasing severity of caries attack. Thus, assuming a continuing decline in dental caries, the majority of such populations will benefit most from the use of topical fluorides. However, in high-risk groups, supplementation of pre-eruptive fluoride can still be of major importance.

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