on behalf of the US Preventive Services Task Force
DESCRIPTION: Update of the 2004 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on prevention of dental caries in preschool-aged children.
METHODS: The USPSTF reviewed the evidence on prevention of dental caries by primary care clinicians in children 5 years and younger, focusing on screening for caries, assessment of risk for future caries, and the effectiveness of various interventions that have possible benefits in preventing caries.
POPULATION: This recommendation applies to children age 5 years and younger.
RECOMMENDATION: The USPSTF recommends that primary care clinicians prescribe oral fluoride supplementation starting at age 6 months for children whose water supply is deficient in fluoride. (B recommendation) The USPSTF recommends that primary care clinicians apply fluoride varnish to the primary teeth of all infants and children starting at the age of primary tooth eruption. (B recommendation) The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of routine screening examinations for dental caries performed by primary care clinicians in children from birth to age 5 years. (I Statement)