Fluoridation and dental caries severity in young children treated under general anaesthesia: an analysis of treatment records in a 10-year case series

Community Dent Health. 2013 Mar;30(1):15-8.


Objective: To compare the severity of dental caries in the primary dentitions of children under 7 years (who received comprehensive restorative treatment under general anaesthesia, GA) from an optimally fluoridated area (0.85 ppmF) and a low-fluoride area (approximately 0.1 ppmF).

Research design: Consecutive clinical case series: clinical details (diagnoses and the treatments provided) were recorded for children who had received comprehensive dental care under GA between 2000 and 2009. Age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status and fluoridation status (determined from the residential address) were also recorded.

Results: Of the 1396 treated children, 55.7% came from fluoridated areas and 52.5% were male. On average, children from low-fluoride areas were 2.4 months younger and presented with more decayed deciduous teeth than those from fluoridated areas (4.9 and 3.9 teeth respectively; p<0.0001). For each tooth type, the mean number of carious teeth at presentation was greater among the children from low-fluoride areas. In the multivariate model, the number of deciduous teeth affected by caries was lower among older children, those residing in a fluoridated area and among those seen after 2001. It was higher among those not living in high-SES areas.

Conclusions: Children with severe dental caries had statistically significantly lower numbers of lesions if they lived in a fluoridated area. The lower treatment need in such high-risk children has important implications for publicly-funded dental care.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Dental / methods*
  • Anesthesia, General*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Audit
  • Dental Caries / pathology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Dental Caries / therapy*
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent*
  • Female
  • Fluoridation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / statistics & numerical data
  • New Zealand
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tooth, Deciduous