Title

Screening and Interventions to Prevent Dental Caries in Children Younger Than 5 Years: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date

2021-12-07

Document Type

Article

Disciplines

Behavioral Medicine | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dental Hygiene | Dental Public Health and Education | Preventive Medicine | Primary Care

Abstract

Importance: Dental caries is the most common chronic disease in children in the US. According to the 2011-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, approximately 23% of children aged 2 to 5 years had dental caries in their primary teeth. Prevalence is higher in Mexican American children (33%) and non-Hispanic Black children (28%) than in non-Hispanic White children (18%). Dental caries in early childhood is associated with pain, loss of teeth, impaired growth, decreased weight gain, negative effects on quality of life, poor school performance, and future dental caries.

Objective: To update its 2014 recommendation, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) commissioned a systematic review on screening and interventions to prevent dental caries in children younger than 5 years.

Population: Asymptomatic children younger than 5 years.

Evidence Assessment: The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that there is a moderate net benefit of preventing future dental caries with oral fluoride supplementation at recommended doses in children 6 months or older whose water supply is deficient in fluoride. The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that there is a moderate net benefit of preventing future dental caries with fluoride varnish application in all children younger than 5 years. The USPSTF concludes that the evidence is insufficient on performing routine oral screening examinations for dental caries by primary care clinicians in children younger than 5 years and that the balance of benefits and harms of screening cannot be determined.

Recommendation: The USPSTF recommends that primary care clinicians prescribe oral fluoride supplementation starting at age 6 months for children whose water supply is deficient in fluoride. (B recommendation) The USPSTF recommends that primary care clinicians apply fluoride varnish to the primary teeth of all infants and children starting at the age of primary tooth eruption. (B recommendation) The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of routine screening examinations for dental caries performed by primary care clinicians in children younger than 5 years. (I statement).

DOI of Published Version

10.1001/jama.2021.20007

Source

US Preventive Services Task Force, Davidson KW, Barry MJ, Mangione CM, Cabana M, Caughey AB, Davis EM, Donahue KE, Doubeni CA, Kubik M, Li L, Ogedegbe G, Pbert L, Silverstein M, Stevermer J, Tseng CW, Wong JB. Screening and Interventions to Prevent Dental Caries in Children Younger Than 5 Years: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2021 Dec 7;326(21):2172-2178. doi: 10.1001/jama.2021.20007. PMID: 34874412. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

JAMA

Comments

Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID

34874412

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