Since the previous Committee on Nutrition statement on fluoride was issued in 19721, the value of providing fluoride supplements to help prevent dental caries has been supported by a growing body of experimental evidence.2 This statement has been prepared to recommend a new dosage schedule that decreases the dosage of fluoride in infancy and that is better adjusted to the concentration of fluoride in the drinking water.
Health authorities agree that, in communities where the fluoride concentration of the water is suboptimal, the most effective and inexpensive means of reducing dental decay is by adjusting the community water supply to an optimal fluoride concentration. In the absence of a fluoridated central water supply, alternative means of fluoride supplementation should be used. Fluoride in tablets, drops, lozenges, or in combination with vitamins can serve this purpose and have been shown to be effective.2 However, the success of these forms of fluoride supplementation depends on whether parents are sufficiently motivated to supervise the regular, daily intake of fluoride supplements by their children from shortly after birth until about 16 years of age. It should be emphasized that fluoride administration is strictly supplemental; it is intended to increase fluoride intake in approximately the amount that would be obtained from fluids in optimally fluoridated communities. Fluoride intake is primarily from water and liquid foods made with fluoridated water. There is relatively little fluoride in most foods3-5; exceptions are certain seafoods.
In establishing an optimal dosage regimen for fluoride supplements, the age of the child and the existing fluoride concentration in the water supply are the two major considerations.
- Copyright © 1979 by the American Academy of Pediatrics