Doctors should do their part to prevent tooth decay, an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality task force recommends.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said primary-care physicians can play an important role in preventing cavities. Those who practice in areas where the water supply is deficient in fluoride should prescribe supplements to preschool children over the age of 6 months, the task force said.
The recommendation appears in the May 2004 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"Preventing dental cavities in childhood is critically important to a lifetime of good oral health," said task force Chairman Ned Calonge, M.D., in a news release. "We need to ensure that our very youngest patients are benefiting from fluoride supplements if they need them."
Calonge is chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Current dosage recommendations are based on the fluoride level of the local community's water supply and are available online at the American Dental Association Web site. But physicians should first know the fluoride content in their community's water supply, available from local health departments, the task force recommends.
More information is available online at AHRQ.gov.