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Keywords:

  • Caries prevention;
  • school-based fluoride mouth-rinsing programme;
  • national survey;
  • regional disparities

Aims

We surveyed the state of implementation of the school-based fluoride mouth-rinsing programme (S-FMR) in schools in Japan from March 2010.

Methods

Questionnaires on the implementation status of S-FMR in each type of school (including preschool and kindergarten) were sent by post to the oral health administration departments of all 47 prefectures and 89 cities (18 ordinance-designated cities, 23 special wards, 41 core cities and seven public health centres in ordinance-designated cities) with public health centres.

Results

The S-FMR implementation rate was low, at only 11% of all schools in Japan and only 6% of all participating school children aged 4–14 years. In many regions, the S-FMR was implemented more widely and received higher participation from children in either elementary schools and junior high schools or preschools and kindergartens.

Conclusions

Inter-prefectural disparities were seen in S-FMR implementation, as some prefectures and cities did not include topical fluoride application in their health promotion plans, and some local public bodies did not include targets for fluoride mouth-rinsing. To reduce this disparity in Japan where systemic fluoride application is not performed, each local public body must consider implementing the S-FMR as a public health measure. We propose using the results of this survey as basic data for formulating S-FMR goals (numerical targets) and adopting S-FMR as a concrete measure in the second Healthy Japan 21, to be launched in the fiscal year for 2013, and within the basic matters of the Act Concerning the Promotion of Dental and Oral Health.