CDC fluoride guidelines. (Healthbeat).
Recommendations for Using Fluoride to Prevent and Control Dental Caries in the United States provides guidance to dental and health care providers, and the general public on the best practices in using fluoride to prevent tooth decay. A work group of fluoride experts evaluated the scientific evidence for the various fluoride products used in the United States. Key recommendations for fluoride use include the following:
* Continue and expand fluoridation of community drinking water. Water fluoridation in the proper amounts (0.7-1.2 parts per million) has been accepted as a safe, effective, and inexpensive method of preventing tooth decay. Adding fluoride to municipal drinking water also is an efficient strategy to reduce the inequalities in dental disease among Americans of all social strata. All persons should know whether or not their primary source of drinking water has an optimal level of fluoride. Approximately 100 million Americans currently do not receive the benefit of fluoridation.
* Frequent use of small amounts of fluoride. Daily and frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride will best reduce the risk of tooth decay for all age groups. The recommendations strongly support drinking water with optimal levels of fluoride and following self-care practices such as brushing at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste.
* Use supplements and high concentration fluoride products judiciously. Fluoride supplements for children may best be prescribed for those who are at high risk for decay and who live in communities that have a low fluoride concentration in their drinking water. High concentration products such as professionally applied gels, foams and varnishes also may best benefit children who are at high risk of decay.
* Parents should monitor the fluoride intake of children younger than six years old. The first six years of life are an important period for tooth development. Overuse of fluoride during this period can result in enamel fluorosis, a condition that may appear as white lines or spots on the teeth. Monitoring fluoride sources by parents can reduce the occurrence of white spots while preventing early tooth decay. Children under age six should use only a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste; parents should consult their child's dentist concerning use of fluoride toothpaste for children under age two.
* Label bottled water with the fluoride concentration. Increased labeling of bottled waters on a voluntary basis will allow consumers to make informed decisions on their fluoride intake.
* Educating health professionals and the public. Collaborative efforts by professional organizations, public agencies and suppliers of oral care products are needed to encourage behavior change to facilitate improved, coordinated use of fluoride products and regimens currently available.
* Further Research. Additional studies are needed to learn more about fluoride use and evaluate the current cost-effectiveness of fluoride modalities (i.e. toothpastes, mouth rinses, supplements, gels and varnishes).
"With multiple sources of fluoride available to us, we want to ensure that every family member gets fluoride in the right amount, in the right place and at the right time," stated Dr. William R. Maas, director of CDC's Division of Oral Health. "These new recommendations will provide the framework for effective and efficient fluoride use in today's environment of multiple sources of fluoride."
The complete report is available at the CDC web site:
For more information visit the DOH web site: