March 2011

Volume 28, Issue 1

Estimating the potential impact on dental caries in children of fluoridating a UK city

Authors: M.C. Downer C.S. Drugan G.R.K. Foster M. Tickle
doi: 10.1922/CDH_2564Downer06


Objective To estimate the potential reduction in dental caries among 5-6-year-old children in a city in the South West of England after six years of water fluoridation. Method Thirteen out of 35 inner city wards and seven out of 43 outer city wards (sharing the same water supply) having the highest mean dmft of 5-6-year-olds (recorded in a census survey in 2005/6) and/or highest indexes of multiple deprivation (IMD) were the principal focal point. Population demographic data and 5-6-year-old caries prevalence and experience were examined. Mean IMD scores and aggregated, weighted mean values for dmft and caries prevalence were referred to previously published regression analyses of caries levels plotted against IMD for 34 fluoridated (F) and 233 non-fluoridated (NF) health districts in England in order to estimate potential caries reductions. Results Mean dmft of 5-6-year-olds in the 20 wards with the highest caries levels and/or social deprivation was 2.10 (95% CI 1.87, 2.33) and caries prevalence 49% (95% CI 47%, 52%). In three wards, mean dmft exceeded 2.60. Population of the selected wards was ~210,800 with a mean IMD score of 33.70 As a conservative estimate, after six years of fluoridation a caries reduction of >40% could be expected in 5-6-year-olds for the conurbation overall and for the 20 high caries/high IMD wards, with a gain of 12 percentage points in the absolute proportion caries-free. The overall population of the 78 wards served by the three relevant water treatment works identified was ~700,000. Conclusions On the basis of current caries levels and population demographics, it appears that a comprehensive fluoridation scheme covering the inner and outer city districts would substantially improve the dental health of the city’s children. Key words: Demographics, dental caries, caries reductions, populations, water fluoridation

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