This publication, the first in a series of briefing notes on oral health, focuses on the prevention and treatment of dental caries (tooth decay) with mercury-free products and minimally-invasive interventions. The prevalence of dental caries is a major public health problem globally. The publication, intended for non-specialists and the public at large, explains why mercury-free products and minimally-invasive interventions are important in oral health care. It also describes six strategies using mercury-free products and minimally-invasive intervention approaches to prevent and treat dental caries: fluoride toothpaste, fluoride varnish, glass ionomer cement sealants, glass ionomer cement restorations, silver diamine fluoride and composite resin restorations.
The document was developed in the context of the COP4 of the Minamata Convention on Mercury ̶ a global treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.