Effects of Water Fluoridation on Caries Experience in the Primary Dentition in a High Caries Risk Community in Queensland, AustraliaKoh R.a · Pukallus M.L.b · Newman B.b · Foley M.c · Walsh L.J.a · Seow W.K.a
aCentre for Paediatric Dentistry, The University of Queensland School of Dentistry, Herston, bMetro South Oral Health Services, Queensland Health, Kingston, and cMetro North Oral Health Services, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia
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Objectives: In December 2008, artificial water fluoridation was introduced for the first time to the Logan-Beaudesert district in the state of Queensland, Australia. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of water fluoridation in the primary dentition in this community after a period of 36 months. Methods: Children aged 4-9 years with clinical examinations and bitewing radiographs (BWs) taken before water fluoridation (pre-F) were randomly selected as comparison controls for age matched children who had been exposed to a mean period of 36 months of water fluoridation (post-F). A total of 201 sets of pre-F BWs from children (mean age 6.95 ± 1.05 years) and 256 sets of post-F BWs from children (mean age 7.19 ± 1.23 years) attending schools in the district were randomly selected. Caries experience in the primary dentition was determined as decayed, missing or filled teeth/surfaces (dmft/dmfs). Results: The caries prevalence for the pre-F group was 87% compared to 75% in the post-F group (Odds ratio (OR): 0.44, 95% CI: 0.27-0.72). Overall, there was a 19 percent reduction of mean dmft from 4.54 in the pre-F group to 3.66 in the post-F group (p = 0.005). After fluoridation, the dmfs was reduced from 6.68 to 5.17 (p = 0.0056). The distal surfaces of maxillary first primary molars experienced the greatest reduction (26%) in caries experience after water fluoridation (p < 0.001). Conclusions: After only 36 months of water fluoridation there was a significant drop in caries prevalence from 87 to 75% and a 19% reduction in caries experience in a community with one of the highest caries rates in Australia.
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