New guidelines on the use of topical fluorides for the prevention of tooth decay in Irish children and adolescents are now available.

The aim of the guidelines is to maximise the benefits from the use of topical fluorides for Irish children under the age of 16 years. The guidelines cover fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouthrinses, as well as professionally applied fluorides, including varnishes and gels.

The guidelines were developed in response to a consultancy report on the use of fluorides in the promotion of oral health in the Republic of Ireland, and their launch marks the introduction of the first evidence-based principles for the HSE public dental service.

Lead researcher Carmel Parnell, a senior HSE dental surgeon, said that the report found variations across the country in the practices and policies for caries-prevention programmes involving fluorides, and identified a lack of guidance within the public dental service on the best use of professionally applied topical fluorides.

Although the guidelines were put together for the public dental service, Ms Parnell points out that they will also be of interest to general dental practitioners and their dental teams, and to parents of children using the public service.

The guidelines will be implemented this year, but according to Ms Parnell it will be probably a number of years before their impact will be seen.

The guidelines were established by a collaborative group involving the Oral Health Services Research Centre in UCC, the HSE and the Cochrane Centre in Oxford. The initiative was funded by a strategic research and development award from the Health Research Board.


Download report in pdf titled:

TOPICAL FLUORIDES. Guidance on the use of topical fluorides for caries prevention in children and adolescents in Ireland.

Summary Guideline.

(Report published December 2008)

Work funded by the Health Research Board (Grant No. S/A013)