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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989


IWAKURA, Maria Luiza Hiromi  and  MORITA, Maria Celeste. Fluoride mouth-rinsing to prevent dental caries in a Brazilian municipality with fluoridated drinking water. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2004, vol.15, n.4, pp. 256-261. ISSN 1020-4989.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the prevalence of dental caries in two groups of schoolchildren: (1) schoolchildren participating in a weekly 0.2% sodium fluoride mouth-rinsing program and (2) schoolchildren not participating in the program. METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the city (municipality) of Londrina, in the state of Paraná, Brazil; the city has fluoridated drinking water. We examined 367 12-year-old children: 190 participants in the weekly mouth-rinsing program (51.8%) and 177 nonparticipants (48.2%). The prevalence of caries was determined based on the scores for decayed, missing, and filled teeth and for decayed, missing, and filled surfaces. The examinations were performed by three examiners, with nearly perfect agreement in their diagnosis of caries (kappa = 0.90). The dependent variable was dental caries. The independent variables were: participation or nonparticipation in the mouth-rinsing program, attending a private school or a public school, frequency of tooth-brushing, amount of toothpaste used, consumption of sweets between meals, and visits to the dentist. RESULTS: The decayed, missing, and filled teeth score (mean and standard deviation) at 12 years of age was 0.85 ± 0.059 overall, 1.0 ± 0.058 for program participants, and 0.70 ± 0.060 for nonparticipants. The decayed, missing, and filled surfaces score (mean and standard deviation) was 1.16 ± 0.017, with it ranging from a low of 0.34 in one private school to a high of 1.66 in one public school. Bivariate analysis showed an association between caries (P < 0.05) and the following variables: attending a public school, participating in the mouth-rinsing program, and consuming sweets between meals more than once a day. In the multivariate analysis, attending a public school (P = 0.0004) and consuming sweets (P = 0.001) remained associated with the presence of caries. CONCLUSIONS: The weekly mouth-rinsing program was not associated with a decreased prevalence of caries, in either the public schools or the private schools. However, additional research is needed to assess the cost-effectiveness of fluoride mouth-rinsing programs in populations with a higher prevalence of caries. Given the caries prevalence that we found in the schoolchildren whom we studied, the resources allocated to the fluoride mouth-rinsing program for them should probably be used to pay for other health-promotion activities with them.

Keywords : Cárie dentária; escola pública; flúor.

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