HealthDay News — Providing oral fluoride supplements and applying fluoride varnish are among recommendations for primary care health providers from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to ensure optimal oral health in children.

“Three out of four preschool-age children ages 5 years and younger do not visit a dentist, but most see a primary care clinician,” Virginia A. Moyer, MD, MPH said in a statement. “Primary care clinicians can play an important complementary role in helping dentists keep children’s teeth healthy.”

After reviewing evidence on prevention of dental caries by primary-care clinicians, the task force issued recommendations related to screening for caries, assessing risk for future caries, and the effectiveness of interventions for preventing caries among children aged 5 years and younger in Pediatrics.

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Recommendations include prescribing oral fluoride supplementation for children 6 months and older whose water supply is deficient in fluoride (Grade B recommendation ) and applying fluoride varnish to primary teeth after the first tooth has erupted to aid in the prevention of dental decay.

Current evidence is insufficient to weight the balance of benefits and harms of routine screening examinations for dental caries performed by primary care clinicians (Grade I Statement).


  1. Moyer V et al. Pediatrics. 2014; doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-0483


One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.