Evidence of Benefit of Fluoride

There is strong evidence supporting many preventive interventions that can be implemented as part of primary medical care.

  • Recommendations for Children Birth Through Age 5 (United States Preventive Services Task Force 1996, 2014)
    • Fluoridated Toothpaste (I, A)
    • Fluoride Varnish (B)
    • Fluoride Supplements (B)
  • General Population (USPSTF 1989, 1996)
    • Fluoridated toothpaste (I, A)
  • High Risk Populations (MMWR 2001)
    • Topical fluoride gels (I, A)
    • Fluoride varnishes on permanent teeth (I, A)
    • Fluoride varnish on high risk infants (I, A)
    • Fluoride supplements if water <.3ppm (6-12-year-olds) (I, A)

"I" indicates that a recommendation is based on evidence from properly constructed randomized controlled trials.
"A" indicates a high certainty that net benefit is substantial.
"B" indicates high certainty that the net benefit is moderate or moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial



US Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: An Assessment of the Effectiveness of 169 interventions. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1989

US Preventive Services Task Force, Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, 2nd edition, 1996.

Moyer VA; US Preventive Services Task Force. Prevention of dental caries in children from birth through age 5 years: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Pediatrics. 2014 Jun;133(6):1102-11. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States. MMWR Aug 17, 2001/50 (RR14); 1-42.

Pahel BT, Rozier, RG, Stearns, SC, Quinonez, RB. Effectiveness of preventive dental treatments by physicians for young Medicaid enrollees. Pediatrics. 2011

Marinho VC, Higgins JP, Logan S, Sheiham A. Fluoride varnishes for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents. The Cochrane Library 2:2004.

Bader JD, Rozier RG, Lohr KN, Frame PS. Physicians' roles in preventing dental caries in preschool children: a summary of the evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Am J Prev Med. 2004; 26:315–25.