Dental fluorosis decline after changes to supplement and toothpaste regimens
In 1989/90, in 659 12-year-olds in Perth (F 0.8 mg/L) and the Bunbury region of Western Australia (WA) (F ∼0.25 mg/L), dental fluorosis prevalences were 40.2% and 33.0%. Fluoride supplements (OR 4.63) and extended residence in a fluoridated area (OR 4.06) were significant risk factors; toothpaste ingestion variables had ORs greater than unity; in 1990, DMFT for this age group was 0.84. School Dental Service took steps to discourage supplement and toothpaste ingestion and to promote low fluoride toothpaste for children < 6 years of age. Objectives: To evaluate the effect of this campaign on fluorosis and caries. Methods: Between May–July 2000, 582 10-year-olds were examined for dental fluorosis (TF index) and dental caries (DMFT) in school dental clinics. Results: Fluorosis prevalence was 22.2% in Perth and 10.8% in the Bunbury region. Overall prevalence was 18.0% and of this, 80.2% was TF 1, 17.9% was TF 2 and just 1.9% was TF 3. In 1989/90, 79 children had used supplements before the age of 4 year; in 2000 only 40 had done so (P < 0.001). Mean DMFT values in Perth and Bunbury were 0.32 and 0.28 (P > 0.05). Low F toothpaste, unavailable in 1989/90, had been used by 24.5%. The only significant risk factor was residence, OR 2.0. Conclusions: Fluorosis prevalence seems to have fallen in parallel with a reduction in discretionary intake from supplements and toothpaste. No increase in dental caries experience was recorded. Because the teeth examined in this study were at risk of fluorosis in 1992–95, very soon after policies changed, and because people are slow to change health habits, it seems reasonable to expect a further improvement when teeth mineralised in the late 1990s become visible.