Few things can be considered more precious than a child’s smile, which is why Sanford Children’s Clinic Mitchell is excited to announce a new service to protect young teeth. Fluoride varnishing can prevent cavities and also help stop cavities once they start. Studies show there is a direct connection between oral health and overall health.
"Dental cavities are the most common chronic childhood disease and are five times more common than asthma. Untreated cavities in children can be associated with growth, learning, and speech problems," adds Christine Arnold, MD with Sanford Children’s Clinic Mitchell.
The varnish is a topical fluoride treatment which is painted directly on teeth. The product, called sodium fluoride varnish, contains a higher concentration of fluoride than gels, foams, rinses and pastes, but is safer for children because they do not swallow as much during the application. The fluoride varnish quickly adheres to teeth and over time is slowly released to the tooth surface, promoting a healthy smile.
Dr. Arnold of Sanford Children’s Clinic Mitchell began offering the service in August.
"The fluoride varnish is safe and can be used on babies from the time they have their first teeth,” says Dr. Arnold. “Although baby teeth fall out, they play a key role in the health of the permanent teeth that take their place. So it's important to try to prevent cavities and treat them as soon as possible if and when they do crop up."
The quick and easy application works best if it is painted on the teeth three times a year and is done on children up to age three. Dr. Arnold also points out this service does not replace the need for regular dental checkups.
"It is recommended that your child visit a dentist at least once per year," she says.
As little as one fluoride varnish treatment a year can cut the cavity rate in half for infants and small children, according to a recent research study done by The Journal of Dental Research. According to the study, children without the fluoride treatments were more than twice as likely to have had a cavity as those who had yearly treatments, and almost four times as likely to have one as those who had had treatments at six-month intervals.
For more information about fluoride varnishing, contact Sanford Children’s Clinic Mitchell at 605-292-0695.