Appropriate Uses of Fluorides for Children: Guidelines from the Canadian Workshop on the Evaluation of Current Recommendations Concerning Fluorides

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Abstract

Objective

To prevent fluorosis caused by excessive fluoride ingestion by revising recommendations for fluoride intake by children.

Options

Limiting fluoride ingestion from fluoridated water, fluoride supplements and fluoride dentifrices.

Outcomes

Reduction in the prevalence of dental fluorosis and continued prevention of dental caries.

Evidence

Before the workshop, experts prepared comprehensive literature reviews of fluoride therapies, fluoride ingestion and the prevalence and causes of dental fluorosis. The papers, which were peer-reviewed, revised and circulated to the workshop participants, formed the basis of the workshop discussions.

Values

Recommendations to limit fluoride intake were vigorously debated before being adopted as the consensus opinion of the workshop group.

Benefits, harms and costs

Decrease in the prevalence of dental fluorosis with continuing preventive effects of fluoride use. The only significant cost would be in preparing new, low-concentration fluoride products for distribution.

Recommendations

Fluoride supplementation should be limited to children 3 years of age and older in areas where there is less than 0.3 ppm of fluoride in the water supply. Children in all areas should use only a "pea-sized" amount of fluoride dentifrice no more than twice daily under the supervision of an adult.

Validation

These recommendations are almost identical to changes to recommendations for the use of fluoride supplements recently proposed by a group of European countries.

Sponsors

The workshop was organized by Dr. D. Christopher Clark, of the University of British Columbia, and Drs. Hardy Limeback and Ralph C. Burgess, of the University of Toronto, and funded by Proctor and Gamble Inc., Toronto, the Medical Research Council of Canada and Health Canada (formerly the Department of National Health and Welfare). The recommendations were formally adopted by the Canadian Dental Association in April 1993.

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