AAP Issues New Fluoride Recommendations

Fluoride toothpaste recommended for all children after tooth eruption

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently looked at how well fluoride prevented cavities in children. The AAP found that fluoride prevented tooth decay and issued a few new recommendations.

The new recommendations addressed questions like how old children should be to use fluoridated dental products like toothpastes and varnish and how much they should use.

"Talk to your dentist about how to get enough fluoride."

The recent clinical report was written by Rebecca Slayton, DDS, PhD, and Melinda Clark, MD, FAAP, of the AAP's Section on Oral Health committee.

The authors studied past research, including past AAP publications, on fluoride's effect on dental caries. They concluded that fluoride — a mineral in most tap water, certain dental products like toothpaste and dentists' offices — did prevent dental caries.

Dental caries, or tooth decay, affects more children in the US than any other chronic disease, the researchers wrote.

In their review, the authors identified a few new recommendations regarding fluoride. They included the following:

  • All children should use fluoridated toothpaste after tooth eruption, which is when teeth first become visible in the mouth.
  • Primary care dentists should use fluoridated varnish on children every three to six months after tooth eruption.
  • Children younger than 6 should not use fluoride rinses because they could swallow them and ingest too much fluoride.
  • Parents should help their kids with getting the right amount of toothpaste — a dot the size of a grain of rice before age 3 and a pea-sized dot after that.

The authors of the report indicated that too much fluoride poses the risk of fluorosis. Fluorosis occurs when children younger than 8 ingest too much fluoride while their teeth are developing. It can cause discoloration and malformation of the teeth. Infants between 15 and 30 months old were the most susceptible to fluorosis.

While fluoride is generally safe, it can be toxic in large amounts. Parents should keep fluoride products out of reach of children and talk to a dentist about fluoride safety.

The researchers also noted that 70 to 75 percent of mothers added tap water to powdered infant formula — and 67 percent of US households received public water that had a safe amount of fluoride, according to 2012 CDC data.

The AAP journal Pediatrics published the report online Aug. 25.

The authors disclosed no funding information or conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
August 22, 2014
Last Updated:
August 25, 2014