Background: A Cochrane systematic review has shown that community fluoride programmes based on a single fluoride intervention can reduce dental caries in children by around 25 %. However, a review of the literature shows that over the last 40 years, around 50 to 100 studies on fluoride interventions have been published every year. Why is so much research being carried out year after year? It is because of the large number of variables associated with providing a community based fluoride intervention, and caution must be exercised in extrapolating the results of a study in one community to a different community. Conclusion: Community fluoride programmes can be very successful, as shown by the Childsmile programme in Scotland. However, "one size does not fit all", and fluoride programmes need to be tailored to fit the local environment.