USPSTF recommends children as young as 6 months get fluoride supplementation

Muna Hassan

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New fluoride recommendations have been drafted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for children 6 months and older.

If water sources do not contain enough fluoride, USPSTF has recommended that fluoride varnish is applied to children under 5 years old by their primary care physicians. Additionally, fluoride supplementation could be prescribed if deemed necessary.

However, the recommendation draft statement said there is inadequate evidence to urge for cavity screenings in young children.

This proposed draft is an update to the 2014 recommendations. The suggestions within the 2014 version of the statement is similar to the current recommendations.

These recommendations stem from the findings of a review of primary care screenings for dental caries and their prevention in children under 5 years.

The analysis found that the application of topical fluoride was associated with an overall decrease in dental caries.

From this, the USPSTF’s recommendations say the research supports that oral fluoride supplementation should be prescribed to children whose water supply is low in fluoride. Supplementation in these instances can start as young as 6 months old.

Dental caries in young children

According to the USPSTF, dental caries are the most common chronic disease affecting children in the U.S.

Nearly 1 in 4 children aged 2 to 5 years suffer from dental caries in their primary teeth., according to the 2011-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Mexican American children and non-Hispanic Black children are at higher risk of developing dental caries than non-Hispanic white children.

There are multiple negative health impacts associated with dental caries in early childhood, including decreased weight gain, impaired growth, loss of teeth, pain and poor school performance.

Because this recommendation is still in draft format, the public is able to provide comment. Comments can be submitted until June 7, 2021.

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Muna has been a journalist and fitness professional for more than 10 years. With degrees in exercise science and dietetics, Muna focuses on informing people about how to lead a healthier lifestyle. Muna is the owner of Body and Mind by Muna, an online gym for at-home workouts, as well as MuslimahFit, a fitness app for women.

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