Fluoride Supplement Prescribing and Dental Referral Patterns Among Academic Pediatricians

Department of Surgery, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 02/1998; 101(1):E6. DOI: 10.1542/peds.101.1.e6
Source: PubMed


To determine how well the current fluoride supplementation schedule was known by academic pediatricians and to examine the fluoride supplement prescribing and dental referral practices among primary care faculty pediatricians at four medical centers.
Four university medical centers in North Carolina.
Primary care faculty pediatricians.
A questionnaire pretested for clarity was distributed to all identified full-time primary care pediatric faculty (42 members).
A total of 40 completed questionnaires were returned. Thirty-seven (93%) primary care faculty pediatricians reported that they routinely addressed the need for fluoride supplements for their patients, but only 28 (70%) determined the fluoride content of the drinking water before prescribing supplements. Thirty-five (87.5%) began supplements at the correct age, but fewer knew the correct doses for children of various ages. Only 23 (58%) referred their patients for oral examination and preventive care before the age of 36 months, contrary to American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.
Pediatricians in an academic setting would be expected to be more knowledgeable of current recommendations than those in private practice. Failure to know and teach correct fluoride supplement recommendations and failure to recommend early professional dental involvement can result in less than optimum oral health.

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    • "Those pediatricians active for many years were trained and began practice in an era in which they provided care for their patients in virtually all settings, whereas in recent decades, pediatricians are now trained in residency programs where the scope of practice has become limited, wearing away their ability to provide comprehensive care to their patients. The pediatricians were also asked to indicate the correct dietary fluoride supplements to children who drank water with low fluoride level and our findings were in agreement with the results observed among primary care faculty pediatricians in the United States [8]. Moreover, it should be stressed that pediatricians should be more accurately informed about techniques of individualized fluoridation, and this is relevant to public health because physicians who are not aware may form opinions about inappropriate supplementation, leading to poor decision making [9]. "
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