Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Does drinking fluoridated water correlate with lower caries prevalence in Appalachian children?

Prasad, Joanne L (2018) Does drinking fluoridated water correlate with lower caries prevalence in Appalachian children? Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

[img] Microsoft Word
Submitted Version

Download (501kB)


Purpose: Dental caries is a largely preventable chronic disease that will affect an estimated 60% of children before they reach the age of 15 years. Community water fluoridation (CWF) has been an effective public health measure in the fight against caries. However, most studies on the benefits of CWF predate the introduction of other modern day caries prevention strategies. Of public health significance, our study sought to determine if CWF continues to be an important caries prevention approach. We sought to determine if drinking fluoridated water correlates with a lower caries prevalence and a lower severity of disease amongst children living in Appalachia.
Methods: We used cross-sectional data collected for the Center for Oral Health Research in Appalachia etiology study database, including water samples, for children aged 10 years and under. Using statistical software, we analyzed the data to determine whether a correlation exists between water fluoridation and the prevalence of caries. We also assessed the severity of caries as an age-adjusted decayed, missing, and filled tooth surfaces composite score for the primary and permanent dentitions (dfs/DMFS). Accounting for covariates, we used a zero-inflated negative binomial regression model to determine whether drinking fluoridated water lowers the severity of caries.
Results: A total of 544 participants were included in our study and 520 were included in the regression model. The proportion of participants with any caries experience was similar between the fluoridated and the non-fluoridated groups, 47% and 43%, respectively (p-value: 0.31). However, controlling for possible confounders, the age-adjusted rate ratio of dfs/DMFS for children drinking fluoridated water compared to those drinking unfluoridated water was 0.68 [C.I. 0.50-0.92]. In other words, there was a 32% decrease [C.I. 8%-50%] in dfs/DMFS in the participants who drank fluoridated water, compared to their peers who drank non-fluoridated water (p-value: 0.01).
Conclusion: While our study did not show a lower prevalence of caries in those drinking fluoridated water, CWF status did correlate with a decrease in the severity of caries in this group. As such, we believe that CWF continues to be an important public health strategy to prevent caries in Appalachian children.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Prasad, Joanne Ljlp92@pitt.edujlp92
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFinegold, David Ndnf@pitt.edudnfUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberWeyant, Robert Jrjw1@pitt.edurjw1UNSPECIFIED
Date: 24 April 2018
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 51
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Multidisciplinary MPH
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2019 21:48
Last Modified: 01 May 2020 05:15


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item