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Community Dent Health. 1996 Sep;13 Suppl 2:47-50.

Thirty-eight years of water fluoridation--the Singapore scenario.

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Ministry of Health, Singapore.


The high caries rate in Singapore school children was of great concern to dental administrators. Remedial measures alone were not the solution. The success of water fluoridation in Grand Rapids, USA and in Brantford, Canada in reducing dental caries in children in the early 1950s prompted Singapore to introduce fluoride into its drinking water. Singapore is the first country in Asia to institute a comprehensive fluoridation programme which covers 100 per cent of the population. The water was fluoridated at 0.7 ppm fluoride using sodium silicofluoride. The ten year study on the effects of water fluoridation in Singapore showed a decrease in caries prevalence in the children. In the permanent dentition the reduction was 52.3 per cent for Chinese and 31 per cent for Malays in the 7 to 9 year old age group. A similar trend was observed in the mixed dentition in which the decrease was 32.5 per cent for Chinese and 30.6 per cent for Malays. Because of the availability and use of other fluoride products, dental fluorosis was observed in children in later years. Although the decline in dental caries after 10 years of water fluoridation was not comparable to those achieved in other countries, this study further documents water fluoridation as the most cost-effective public health measure for the prevention of dental caries.

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