The Role of Fluoride in the Prevention of Tooth Decay

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2018 Oct;65(5):923-940. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2018.05.014.


Although there are recommendations to prevent tooth decay by other means, this nonsystematic review finds that fluoride is the key to prevention and control of tooth decay. There are multiple fluoride modalities with effectiveness and safety of fluoride depending on dose and concentration. Prevention of tooth decay occurs at the individual level by fluoride use at home and with professional application and at the community level through fluoridation of water or salt.

Keywords: Children; Dental caries; Dental decay; Fluorides; Oral health; Primary prevention; Secondary prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cariostatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Dental Care for Children*
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fluoridation
  • Fluorides / administration & dosage*
  • Fluorides / pharmacology*
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Mouthwashes / pharmacology
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants / pharmacology
  • Toothpastes / pharmacology


  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Gels
  • Mouthwashes
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants
  • Toothpastes
  • Fluorides