Fluoride Successful in Young Patients but Doesn’t Help with Long-Term Oral Health

Untreated dental caries are a significant paediatric public health problem. One in every seven US children aged 2 to 8 years has untreated dental caries in primary teeth, according to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data (Dye BA, et al. NCHS data brief, no 191. Hyattsville, Md.; National Centre for Health Statistics, 2015).

While fluoride varnish application is a well-established primary intervention for preventing dental caries, it does not restore deeper lesions. Untreated dental decay extending through the tooth’s enamel layer requires mechanical removal of decayed tissue with hand instruments or powered dental drills. Tooth structure lost during removal of the decayed lesion is restored with dental fillings or full coverage crowns. – Elise Sarvas, DDS, MSD, MPH and Jeffrey M. Karp, DMD, MS, AAP News