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Prevention of Dental Caries in Preschool-Aged Children

This topic is in the process of being updated. Please go to the Update in Progress section to see the latest documents available.

This topic page summarizes the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations on prevention of dental caries in preschool-aged children.

Current Recommendation

Release Date: April 2004

  • The USPSTF recommends that primary care clinicians prescribe oral fluoride supplementation at currently recommended doses to preschool children older than 6 months of age whose primary water source is deficient in fluoride.
    Grade: B Recommendation.
  • The USPSTF concludes that the evidence is insufficient to recommend for or against routine risk assessment of preschool children by primary care clinicians for the prevention of dental disease.
    Grade: I Statement.

Supporting Documents

Recommendations and Rationale (PDF File, 188 KB; PDF Help)
Summary of the Evidence (PDF File, 311 KB; PDF Help)
Systematic Evidence Review (PDF File, 850 KB; PDF Help)

Update in Progress

In an effort to make the USPSTF recommendations clearer and its processes more transparent, the Task Force is sharing drafts of its Research Plans, Evidence Reports, and Recommendation Statements for public comment. As a result, the final Recommendation Statement is not yet available.

Supporting Documents

Research Plan

USPSTF members work with researchers from an independent Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) to create a Research Plan that guides the systematic review of the evidence. The Research Plan consists of an analytic framework, key questions, and a literature search strategy or research approach.

Research Plan Related Items
Final Research Plan N/A

Evidence Report

The research team at the EPC independently gathers and reviews the available published evidence to address the questions posed by the USPSTF. The resulting draft Evidence Report is critiqued by national subject matter experts and posted for public comment before being finalized.

Evidence Report Related Items
Evidence Report (PDF File, 740 KB; PDF Help) Draft Evidence Report for Public Comment
(May 21–June 20, 2013)

Recommendation Statement

The USPSTF reviews the Evidence Report, evaluates the benefits and harms of the clinical preventive service, and discusses and develops one or more preliminary specific recommendations. The resulting draft Recommendation Statement is posted on this Web site for public comment before being finalized.

Recommendation Statement Related Items
Draft Recommendation Statement for Public Comment*
(May 21–June 20, 2013)
Consumer Fact Sheet (PDF File, 72 KB; PDF Help)

* Note: Draft Recommendation Statements are by their nature not final, and should not be interpreted as to represent official USPSTF recommendations for practice. Draft Recommendation Statements are provided by the USPSTF for informational purposes only.

Current as of July 2013

Internet Citation:

Prevention of Dental Caries in Preschool-Aged Children, Topic Page. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsdnch.htm


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