Fluorides and Other Preventive Strategies for Tooth Decay

Dent Clin North Am. 2018 Apr;62(2):207-234. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2017.11.003.


We focus on scalable public health interventions that prevent and delay the development of caries and enhance resistance to dental caries lesions. These interventions should occur throughout the life cycle, and need to be age appropriate. Mitigating disease transmission and enhancing resistance are achieved through use of various fluorides, sugar substitutes, mechanical barriers such as pit-and-fissure sealants, and antimicrobials. A key aspect is counseling and other behavioral interventions that are designed to promote use of disease transmission-inhibiting and tooth resistance-enhancing agents. Advocacy for public water fluoridation and sugar taxes is an appropriate dental public health activity.

Keywords: Dental caries; Fluorides; Pit and fissure sealants; Public health dentistry; Silver diamine fluoride; Topical.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Fluoridation
  • Fluorides / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants / therapeutic use
  • Toothpastes / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants
  • Toothpastes
  • Fluorides