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Fluoride research: changes to national and international policy and practice in dental health

Summary of the impact

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60% to 90% of school children are affected by tooth decay in industrialised countries 1,2. At low levels, fluoride can reduce tooth decay, but high levels can damage developing tooth enamel in young children. Our research has informed the revised WHO guidelines for monitoring community tooth decay prevention programmes and the UK National Fluoridated Milk Advisory Group's recommendation to increase the amount of fluoride added to school milk. The WHO guidelines are accepted and implemented internationally representing a substantial spread of influence. The recommendation to increase the amount of fluoride in school milk UK-wide is significant, as it will further control and reduce dental caries, especially in deprived areas with non-fluoridated water supply. In addition, we have established better measures of babies' and children's actual and ideal fluoride intake, including better techniques to determine the fluoride content of foods, a protocol for monitoring fluoride intake through urinary excretion, and experimentally-based models to monitor community preventive programmes.

  1. Peterson PE, Bourgeois D, Ogawa H, Estupinan-Day S, Ndiaye C. The global burden of oral diseases and risk to oral health. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2005;83:661-669
  2. Peterson PE. Priorities for research for oral health in the 21st century — the approach of the WHO global oral health programme. Community Dental Health 2005; 22:71-74.

Submitting Institution

Teesside University

Unit of Assessment

Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Medical and Health Sciences: Dentistry, Public Health and Health Services

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