Dental caries (i.e., tooth decay) is an infectious, multifactorial disease afflicting most persons in industrialized countries and some developing countries (1). Fluoride reduces the incidence of dental caries and slows or reverses the progression of existing lesions (i.e., prevents cavities).
Although pit and fissure sealants, meticulous oral hygiene, and appropriate dietary practices contribute to caries prevention and control, the most effective and widely used approaches have included fluoride use. Today, all U.S. residents are exposed to fluoride to some degree, and widespread use of fluoride has been a major factor in the decline in the prevalence and severity of dental caries in the United States and other economically developed countries (1).
Although this decline is a major public health achievement, the burden of disease is still considerable in all age groups. Because many fluoride modalities are effective, inexpensive, readily available, and can be used in both private and public health settings, their use is likely to continue.
Read the CDC Report: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5014a1.htm