Objective. 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.
Setting. Four university medical centers in North Carolina.
Subjects. Primary care faculty pediatricians.
Method. A questionnaire pretested for clarity was distributed to all identified full-time primary care pediatric faculty (42 members).
Results. 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.
Conclusions. 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.