School-based fluoride mouth-rinse program dissemination associated with decreasing dental caries inequalities between Japanese Prefectures: An ecological study

Yusuke Matsuyama, Jun Aida, Katsuhiko Taura, Kazunari Kimoto, Yuichi Ando, Hitoshi Aoyama, Manabu Morita, Kanade Ito, Shihoko Koyama, Akihiro Hase, Toru Tsuboya, Ken Osaka

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Background: Dental caries inequalities still severely burden individuals' and society's health, even in countries where fluoride toothpastes are widely used and the incidence of dental caries has been decreasing. School-based fluoride mouth-rinse (S-FMR) programs, a population strategy for dental caries prevention, might decrease dental caries inequalities. This study investigated the association between S-FMR and decreasing dental caries prevalence and caries-related inequalities in 12-year-olds by Japanese prefecture. Methods: We conducted an ecological study using multi-year prefecture-level aggregated data of children born between 1994 and 2000 in all 47 Japanese prefectures. Using two-level linear regression analyses (birth year nested within prefecture), the association between S-FMR utilization in each prefecture and 12-year-olds' decayed, missing, or filled permanent teeth (DMFT), which indicates dental caries experience in their permanent teeth, were examined. Variables that could explain DMFT inequalities between prefectures, such as dental caries experience at age 3 years, dentist density, and prefectural socioeconomic circumstances, were also considered. Results: High S-FMR utilization was significantly associated with low DMFT at age 12 (coefficient-0.011; 95% confidence interval,-0.018 to-0.005). S-FMR utilization explained 25.2% of the DMFT variance between prefectures after considering other variables. Interaction between S-FMR and dental caries experience at age 3 years showed that S-FMR was significantly more effective in prefectures where the 3-year-olds had high levels of dental caries experience. Conclusions: S-FMR, administered to children of all socioeconomic statuses, was associated with lower DMFT. Utilization of S-FMR reduced dental caries inequalities via proportionate universalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-571
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Epidemiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Dental caries
  • Fluoride
  • Health inequalities
  • Population approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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