Salt fluoridation: a meta-analysis of its efficacy for caries prevention

SADJ. 2010 Mar;65(2):60-4, 66-7.


The aim of this meta-analysis was to assess the caries preventive effect of Salt fluoridation (SF) in the permanent dentition in children. THE OBJECTIVES WERE TO COMPARE: (1) the caries preventive effects of SF versus no exposure in different age cohorts (6-8; 9-12; and 13-15 years old); (2) SF versus other community based interventions (milk or water fluoridation [WF]).

Methods: 9 English and 2 non-English databases were searched for papers that reported on the caries preventive effect of groups (with controls) that were exposed to SF in the form of mean DMFT scores with standard deviations. Differences in exposed and nonexposed groups were computed on the basis of weighted mean differences (WMDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: For 6-8 year olds, the pooled reduction in DMFT scores was -0.98 [95% CI: -1.68 to -0.29]; for 9-12 year olds, it was -2.13 [95% CI: -2.55 to -1.70] and for the 13-15 year old groups, -4.22 [95% CI: -6.84 to -1.55]. All the analyses favoured the SF groups (p <0.001). For SF versus WF, there was no difference (-0.11 reduction [95% CI: -0.29 to +0.07]).

Conclusion: Within limitations, the pooled estimates of the WMDs for the different age cohorts favoured SF versus no exposure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Cariostatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Cariostatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Fluoridation
  • Fluorides / administration & dosage
  • Fluorides / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Milk
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary*


  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Fluorides