The caries decline: a review of reviews


Douglas Bratthall, Department of Cariology. Faculty of Odontology. Carl Gustafs Väg 34, S-214 21 Malmö, Sweden FAX: +46-40322145 e-mail:


The aim of this paper is to review publications discussing the declining prevalence of dental caries in the industrialized countries during the past decades, focusing on some main conferences addressing this issue. Has there been a real decline in the prevalence of dental caries? Several excellent papers and reviews have been published, and there is a general agreement that a marked reduction in caries prevalence has occurred among children in most of the developed countries in recent decades. This fact has stimulated much debate and attempts to identify the most likely explanations for this change. The conclusion made from this review is that the various authors believe that the use of fluoride in various forms has contributed most significantly to the decline in dental caries prevalence. A number of other factors must, however, also be taken into consideration, and such factors have been extensively discussed in the various publications.