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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Fluoride gels for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2015
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (96th percentile)


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563 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
Fluoride gels for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd002280.pub2
Pubmed ID

Valeria CC Marinho, Helen V Worthington, Tanya Walsh, Lee-Yee Chong


Topically applied fluoride gels have been widely used as a caries-preventive intervention in dental surgeries and school-based programmes for over three decades. This updates the Cochrane review of fluoride gels for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents that was first published in 2002. The primary objective is to determine the effectiveness and safety of fluoride gels in preventing dental caries in the child and adolescent population.The secondary objectives are to examine whether the effect of fluoride gels is influenced by the following: initial level of caries severity; background exposure to fluoride in water (or salt), toothpastes, or reported fluoride sources other than the study option(s); mode of use (self applied under supervision or operator-applied), and whether there is a differential effect between the tray and toothbrush methods of application; frequency of use (times per year) or fluoride concentration (ppm F). We searched the Cochrane Oral Health Group Trials Register (to 5 November 2014), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Cochrane Library 2014, Issue 11), MEDLINE via OVID (1946 to 5 November 2014), EMBASE via OVID (1980 to 5 November 2014), CINAHL via EBSCO (1980 to 5 November 2014), LILACS and BBO via the BIREME Virtual Health Library (1980 to 5 November 2014), ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (1861 to 5 November 2014) and Web of Science Conference Proceedings (1945 to 5 November 2014). We undertook a search for ongoing trials on ClinicalTrials.gov and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform on 5 November 2014. We placed no restrictions on language or date of publication in the search of the electronic databases. We also searched reference lists of articles and contacted selected authors and manufacturers. Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials where blind outcome assessment was stated or indicated, comparing topically applied fluoride gel with placebo or no treatment in children up to 16 years. The frequency of application had to be at least once a year, and study duration at least one year. The main outcome was caries increment measured by the change in decayed, missing and filled tooth surfaces in both permanent and primary teeth (D(M)FS and d(e/m)fs). At least two review authors independently performed study selection, data extraction and 'Risk of bias' assessment. We contacted study authors for additional information where required. The primary measure of effect was the prevented fraction (PF), that is, the difference in mean caries increments between the treatment and control groups expressed as a percentage of the mean increment in the control group. We performed random-effects meta-analyses where we could pool data. We examined potential sources of heterogeneity in random-effects metaregression analyses. We collected adverse effects information from the included trials. We included 28 trials (3 of which are new trials since the original review), involving 9140 children and adolescents. Most of these trials recruited participants from schools. Most of the studies (20) were at high risk of bias, with 8 at unclear risk of bias.Twenty-five trials (8479 participants) contributed data for meta-analysis on permanent tooth surfaces: the D(M)FS pooled prevented fraction (PF) estimate was 28% (95% confidence intervals (CI) 19% to 36%; P < 0.0001; with substantial heterogeneity (P < 0.0001; I(2) = 82%); moderate quality evidence). Subgroup and metaregression analyses suggested no significant association between estimates of D(M)FS prevented fractions and the prespecified trial characteristics. However, the effect of fluoride gel varied according to the type of control group used, with D(M)FS PF on average being 17% (95% CI 3% to 31%; P = 0.018) higher in non-placebo-controlled trials (the reduction in caries was 38% (95% CI 24% to 52%; P < 0.0001, 2808 participants) for the 10 trials with no treatment as control group, and 21% (95% CI 15% to 28%; P < 0.0001, 5671 participants) for the 15 placebo-controlled trials. A funnel plot of the 25 trials in the D(M)FS PF meta-analysis indicated a relationship between prevented fraction and study precision, with an apparent lack of small studies with statistically significant large effects.The d(e/m)fs pooled prevented fraction estimate for the three trials (1254 participants) that contributed data for the meta-analysis on primary teeth surfaces was 20% (95% CI 1% to 38%; P = 0.04; with no heterogeneity (P = 0.54; I(2) = 0%); low quality evidence).There was limited reporting of adverse events. Only two trials reported information on acute toxicity signs and symptoms during the application of the gel (risk difference 0.01, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.02; P = 0.36; with no heterogeneity (P = 36; I(2) = 0%); 490 participants; very low quality evidence). None of the trials reported information on tooth staining, mucosal irritation or allergic reaction. The conclusions of this updated review remain the same as those when it was first published. There is moderate quality evidence of a large caries-inhibiting effect of fluoride gel in the permanent dentition. Information concerning the caries-preventive effect of fluoride gel on the primary dentition, which also shows a large effect, is based on low quality evidence from only three placebo-controlled trials. There is little information on adverse effects or on acceptability of treatment. Future trials should include assessment of potential adverse effects.

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X Demographics

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Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 563 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
El Salvador 1 <1%
Unknown 562 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 103 18%
Student > Bachelor 60 11%
Student > Ph. D. Student 45 8%
Researcher 41 7%
Student > Postgraduate 29 5%
Other 80 14%
Unknown 205 36%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 214 38%
Nursing and Health Professions 29 5%
Social Sciences 18 3%
Psychology 14 2%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 13 2%
Other 56 10%
Unknown 219 39%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 207. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 28 April 2023.
All research outputs
of 25,775,807 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 13,139 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 278,974 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 284 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 25,775,807 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 13,139 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 35.9. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 278,974 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 284 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its contemporaries.