The school-based dental program may reduce cavities, says a new study. The findings published in the Journal of the American Dental Association showed that after six visits, the prevalence of untreated cavities decreased by more than 50 percent.
“The widespread implementation of oral health programs in schools could increase the reach of traditional dental practices and improve children’s oral health — all while reducing health disparities and the cost of care,” said researcher Richard Niederman from the New York University.
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For the study, the team included nearly 7,000 elementary school students. The services were provided at no cost to families. Twice-yearly visits involved dental examinations followed by cavity prevention and treatment, including fluoride varnish, sealants, and minimally invasive fillings to stabilize cavities without drilling. Students also received oral hygiene instructions, toothbrushes, and fluoride toothpaste to take home. If more complex care was required, students were referred to local dentists.
Notably, the procedures used do not create aerosols, which limits the risk of transmitting viruses through the air. In one group of schools, cavities were reduced from a baseline of 39 percent to 18 percent, and in a second group, cavities decreased from 28 percent to 10 percent. The prevention program reduced cavities in both baby and permanent teeth. (IANS/SP)