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Fluoride varnish helps prevent tooth decay in very young children

Fluoride varnish, a dental preventive treatment, reduces the incidence of early childhood tooth decay in combination with dental health counseling for parents, according to a study by investigators at the UCSF School of Dentistry.

The investigators examined cavity-free infants and young children, primarily from low-income Chinese or Hispanic families in San Francisco. All families received counseling on dental health, and children were randomized into three groups: those receiving fluoride varnish twice per year, those receiving it once per year, and those not receiving it at all. Of the initial 376 children enrolled, 280 completed the study.

According to study findings, children who did not receive any fluoride varnish were more than twice as likely to develop tooth decay as the children who were assigned to the annual fluoride varnish group. Children who did not receive fluoride varnish were nearly four times more likely to develop tooth decay than those assigned to receive it twice per year (four treatments over two years).

Study results are published in the February issue of the Journal of Dental Research, the journal of the International Association of Dental Research. The results are posted online at http://jdr.iadrjournals.org.

There are two important points that parents should be aware of as a result of this study, said Jane Weintraub, DDS, MPH, Lee Hysan Professor at the UCSF School of Dentistry and principal investigator of the study. "First, the results support the use of fluoride varnish to prevent tooth decay in very young children. Second, the results support parents bringing children for their first dental visit at age one when they are getting their first teeth."

"Fluoride varnish is relatively inexpensive, easy to brush onto a child's teeth, and can be part of a positive first dental visit to help prevent tooth decay," Weintraub said. "In contrast, when very young c
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Contact: Janet Basu
jbasu@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
27-Jan-2006


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