Dental Caries: Prospects for Prevention

Science  24 Sep 1971:
Vol. 173, Issue 4003, pp. 1199-1205
DOI: 10.1126/science.173.4003.1199


Combined utilization of measures now available or imminent could reduce caries of the crowns of the teeth to the point of negligibility as a public health problem, if public desire were great enough to motivate changes in some of our habits (64). Universal optimum application of fluoride and substitution of starchy foods for sugary ones (or even simply judicious consumption of sugar) would alone do most of the job. Sealing of susceptible occlusal areas with adhesive polymers promises to protect the sites where fluoride evidently cannot be maximally effective. It seems unlikely that any single measure will be found sufficient to control this multifactorial disease. Consequently, we must continue the search for new means to increase the caries resistance of teeth, to reduce the cariogenicity of foodstuffs, and to check the deleterious activities of cariogenic bacteria. Anticaries food additives and antibacterial agents for intraoral use seem to be approaching practicability. Past performance warrants expectation that ongoing fundamental investigations will produce leads for future development and application.