1. An AAP Clinical Report released today encourages pediatricians to aid in the prevention of dental caries, a common cause of tooth decay and loss in childhood.
2. The American Academic of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to recommend the use of fluoride in pediatric patients in the forms of fluoride-containing toothpaste, fluoride-supplemented tap water, and fluoride supplements as well as topical fluoride treatment in appropriate populations.
Statement Rundown: Dental caries caused by oral bacteria is the most common chronic childhood disease and is responsible for tooth decay, loss, and potentially expensive medical intervention. The best treatment for dental caries is protection and prevention, including practicing good dental hygiene and the remineralization of damaged enamel. The development of fluorosis, a cosmetic condition leading to striae and pitting of teeth, is the only common major risk of excessive fluoride exposure as lethal fluoride levels are unlikely to occur. Patients between 15 and 30 months of age are most susceptible to fluorosis. This most recent AAP clinical report highlights the most effective and risk-averse strategies for harnessing the protective benefits of fluoride. Recommendations include the use of fluoride toothpaste with the eruption of the first tooth, beginning with a smear of toothpaste and progressing to a pea-sized amount after the age of 3 years to minimize the quantity of ingested fluoride. Young children should not rinse their mouth with water, as this would increase their likelihood of swallowing excess fluoride that would otherwise be beneficial. Pediatricians should know how to assess the risk of caries beginning at 6 months of age, be able to determine whether children require additional fluoride supplementation, and should serve as advocates for fluoridation of public water sources. In addition, pediatricians should be aware of fluoride varnish indications as well as methods of application, as topical fluoride varnish treatments every 3 to 6 months in children and infants can limit caries development.
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