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Caries and costs: an evaluation of a school-based fluoride varnish programme for adolescents in a Swedish region

Journal article
Authors Eva-Karin Bergström
Peter Lingström
Magnus Hakeberg
Lars Gahnberg
Ulla Moberg Sköld
Published in Community Dental Health
Volume 33
Issue 2
Pages 138-144
ISSN 0265-539X
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Odontology
Pages 138-144
Language en
Keywords adolescent, caries prevalence, dental caries, fluoride varnish, prevention, school based prevention, approximal caries, dental-caries, prevention, duraphat
Subject categories Dentistry


In 2003, 19 public dental clinics in Vastra Gotaland Region implemented a population-based programme with fluoride varnish applications at school every six months, for all 12 to 15 year olds. In 2008, the programme was extended to include all 112 clinics in the region. Objective: To evaluate caries increment and to perform a cost analysis of the programme. Basic research design: A retrospective design with caries data for two birth cohorts extracted from dental records. Three groups of adolescents were compared. For Group 1 (n=3,132), born in 1993, the fluoride varnish programme started in 2003 and Group 2 (n=13,490), also born in 1993, had no fluoride varnish programme at school. These groups were compared with Group 3 (n=11,321), born in 1998, when the programme was implemented for all individuals. The total cost of the four-year programme was estimated at 400SEK (approximate to 44(sic)) per adolescent. Results: Caries prevalence and caries increment in 15 year olds were significantly lower after the implementation of the programme. Group 2, without a programme, had the highest caries increment. The cost analysis showed that it was a break-even between costs and gains due to prevented fillings at the age of 15. Conclusions: This school-based fluoride varnish programme, implemented on a broad scale for all 12 to 15 year olds, contributed to a low caries increment at a low cost for the adolescents in the Vastra Gotaland Region in Sweden.

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