For Release: Aug. 25, 2014
Dental caries – or tooth decay -- is the most common
chronic disease in children in the U.S., a silent disease that
disproportionally affects poor, young, and minority populations. In a new
clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “Fluoride Use in Caries Prevention in the Primary Care Setting,
” published online Aug. 25 in the
September 2014 Pediatrics, the AAP states that fluoride is effective for cavity
prevention in children. The AAP is issuing the following new recommendations:
- Fluoridated toothpaste is
recommended for all children starting at tooth eruption, regardless of
- A smear (the size of a grain of
rice) of toothpaste should be used up to age 3. After the 3rd birthday, a pea-sized
amount may be used. Parents should dispense toothpaste for young children
and supervise and assist with brushing.
- Fluoride varnish is recommended
in the primary care setting every 3–6 months starting at tooth emergence.
- Over-the counter fluoride rinse
is not recommended for children younger than 6 years due to risk of
swallowing higher-than-recommended levels of fluoride.
Because fluoride is available in many sources,
including food and tap water, and may be administered at home and
professionally applied, pediatricians should be aware of the risks and benefits
of various fluoride modalities to appropriately advise families to achieve
maximum protection against dental caries, and to help counsel patients about
proper oral health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an
organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical
subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health,
safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For
more information, visit www.aap.org