Are There Additional Benefits to Receiving Fluoride Systemically During Tooth Development?

The greatest benefit to children occurs when the child receives fluoridated water his/her entire life, from birth and continuing on – about 50% reduction in decay in the permanent teeth and about 63% reduction in the primary teeth. Children who were 8 years old when fluoridation was introduced received about a 25% reduction in decay in the permanent teeth.

Study by Thylstrup (1990)

This study reviewed evidence of the effects of the introduction of fluoridated water into a community. There were about 63% more 8-year-olds with a caries-free primary dentition after seven years of fluoridation compared with baseline. Permanent teeth emerging into a disease-free environment (primary teeth without decay) were less likely to decay. (Thylstrup, A. Clinical evidence of the role of pre-eruptive fluoride in caries prevention. Department of Cariology and Endodontics, Royal Dental College, Copenhagen, Denmark; Journal of Dental Research 69/Spec Iss: 742-750, February, 1990)

Study by Singh, Spencer, and Armfield (2003)

This study showed an important pre-eruptive caries-preventive effect. Exposure to fluoridated water topically alone did not suffice in restricting caries to low levels, whereas a pre-eruption exposure alone resulted in lower overall decay rates. The maximum caries-preventive effects of fluoridated water were achieved by high pre- and post-eruption exposure. These results supported water fluoridation as a public health measure in view of the need for continuous exposure for the maximum benefit. (Singh, K. A., BDS, GDPH, PhD; Spencer, J., MDSc, MPH, PhD; Armfield, J. M., BA, J Public Health Dent 2003; 63(1):11-19)