Is Fluoride Good or Bad for your Teeth?

An interesting study compared the evidence on the effects of fluoridated milk versus non-fluoridated milk for the prevention of tooth decay.


Tooth decay remains a major public health problem in most industrialized countries, affecting 60% to 90% of schoolchildren and the vast majority of adults. It is the primary cause of oral pain and tooth loss.

The prevalence of tooth decay varies both between and within different countries, but generally, people in lower socioeconomic groups (measured by income, education and employment) are more affected.

Fluoride is a mineral that prevents tooth decay and can be added to drinking water, salt or milk as a public health measure to promote oral health.

Fluoridated milk is often available to children alongside non-fluoridated milk through school milk schemes or national nutritional programs. The use of such distribution systems can provide a convenient and cost-efficient means of targeted fluoride supplementation for children whose parents wish to participate in the program.

Key results

One unpublished study that included 180 three-year olds who were given either fluoridated or non-fluoridated milk at nursery schools in an area with high prevalence of dental cavities and a low level of fluoride in drinking water. After three years, 92% of the children were available for analysis.

The evidence suggests fluoridated milk may be beneficial to schoolchildren, substantially reducing the formation of cavities in baby teeth. There was no information available about any possible adverse events.

Read the full study at: Cochrane

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