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J Public Health Dent. 1998 Winter;58(1):28-35.

Dental caries and dental fluorosis among schoolchildren who were lifelong residents of communities having either low or optimal levels of fluoride in drinking water.

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National Institute of Dental Research, Division of Intramural Research, Bethesda, MD 20892-6401, USA.



This paper reports findings for dental caries and dental fluorosis in 8-10- and 13-16-year-old schoolchildren who were lifelong residents of communities having either naturally occurring low (Broken Bow and Holdrege, NE; < 0.3 ppm) or optimal (Kewanee, IL; 1 ppm) levels of fluoride in drinking water.


Findings are reported for participants who received both dental caries and dental fluorosis examinations (n = 495). The DMFS and TSIF indices, respectively, were used to assess dental caries and dental fluorosis.


The mean DMFS score adjusted for age, sealant presence, and fluoride use was significantly lower in Kewanee (1.8) than was the adjusted mean caries score in either Holdrege (2.9) or Broken Bow (3.6). Adjusted mean DMFS scores in Broken Bow and Holdrege were not statistically different. The mean percent of fluorosed tooth surfaces per person, adjusted for age and use of dietary fluoride supplements, was similar in the three communities (approximately 15%); more than 80 percent of tooth surfaces in all participants were fluorosis-free.


Findings from the present study suggest that water fluoridation still is beneficial and that dental sealants can play a significant role in preventing dental caries. In addition, findings from this survey appear to support the premise that the difference in dental fluorosis prevalence between fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities has narrowed considerably in recent years.

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