Fluoride Action Network


Hawai’i has the lowest rate of community water fluoridation in the nation, which has contributed to poor oral health for children statewide. When properly prescribed, the benefits of fluoride supplementation for oral health outweigh any potential side effects to the body. Official recommendations give pediatric healthcare providers the authority to prescribe fluoride supplements and guide parents in daily usage. However, knowledge of actual practice and adherence for both providers and patients have never been examined in Hawai’i. This study aims to evaluate pediatric healthcare providers’ attitudes, knowledge, and practices, regarding fluoride supplementation. A 37-item survey was developed investigating these domains, and was distributed to pediatric dentists, family practitioners, and pediatricians in the state. One hundred and three responses were collected during the time period of May 2014 through May 2015. Descriptive and bivariate associations with several outcomes were assessed. The majority (87%) reported at least some knowledge of the official guidelines. There was uncertainty in knowledge of fluorosis and the seriousness of the health risk. A recent educational session on fluoride was associated with more knowledge of the guidelines and the signs and symptoms of fluorosis. The majority of providers started fluoride at the recommended age whereas there was more variablility on stopping fluoride. On the patient side, providers reported that 67% of the parents forget to administer and 53% reported that their child does not like the taste. This study provides some information regarding the clinical use of fluoride supplementation in children. More efforts are needed to raise awareness in a consistent manner by both the dental and medical communities on the importance of fluoride supplementation to promote oral health in children while addressing concerns of professionals and the community.