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ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 18  |  Page : 771-777

Fluoride supplements: Current effectiveness, side effects and recommendations - A review


1 Professor and Head, Dept. of Public Health Dentistry, The Oxford Dental College, Bengaluru, India
2 P.G. Student, Dept. of Public Health Dentistry, The Oxford Dental College, Bengaluru, India
3 Professor, Dept. of Public Health Dentistry, The Oxford Dental College, Bengaluru, India

Correspondence Address:
S Naganandini
Professor and Head, Dept. of Public Health Dentistry, The Oxford Dental College, Bengaluru
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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The objective of the review is to evaluate the scientific evidence of the effectiveness and side effects related to fluoride supplements and to update the clinical recommendations on the prescription of fluoride supplements for caries prevention. The use of fluoride supplements for preventing dental caries first started in late 1940's and was intended as a substitute for fluoridated water for children in non- fluoridated areas. The fluoride supplements come in the form of tablets (chewable or non-chewable), drops and lozenges The effectiveness of fluoride supplements in reducing caries is stated by many studies in the past; although these were questioned by many authors. The evidence supports fluoride's systemic mechanism of caries prevention when it is incorporated into the tooth pre-eruptively. Also, ingested fluoride can exert a topical mechanism of action when it is redistributed to the oral environment by the means of saliva. The ingestion of fluoride by means of supplements may be associated with increased risk of developing enamel fluorosis. The increase in exposure of fluoride from other sources like ingestion of water, toothpastes, beverages, foods and professional dental products may also cause enamel fluorosis. It is concluded that fluoride supplements should be used as directed to maximize their caries-preventive benefit and should be prescribed only to children who are at high risk of developing caries and whose primary source of drinking water is deficient in fluoride. The recommendations when prescribing fluoride supplements emphasize the need for caries risk assessment and consideration of total fluoride intake.


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