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Fluoride Varnish Dosing in High Caries Pre-Schoolers

PI: Philip Weinstein, Ph.D., Professor, Dental Public Health Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Washington

The aims of this study are to determine the efficacy of three application regimens of 50 mg NaF/ml fluoride varnish (Duraflor, Pharmascience) in preventing dental caries progression in children, and to describe the characteristics of children with and without caries progression.

Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years in Head Start Centers were enrolled in the study. For each Head Start center, all dental screenings took place within a single day. Children were screened at their respective Head Start center and entered into the study if they had one or more carious lesions in their primary molars, had not received a fluoride varnish treatment within the previous 6 months, and had consent from a parent or legal guardian. The study population consisted of 156 children from five centers. They were between 3-5 years of age. There were approximately the same number of females (N=71) as males (N=85). Approximately 90% of the children were of Hispanic origin and the remaining 10% consisted of children who were of Caucasian and Native American origin. Data analysis will begin within the next couple of months. The study is currently being conducted but results are not yet available.

Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is of epidemic proportions in minority and rural populations. Even when dental care is available current regimens do not prevent or arrest the disease. The treatments we have available to control caries in low income populations of young children with high caries prevalence are simply inadequate. Moreover, little systematic research has been carried out with these populations in the U.S. This proposed research builds on past work in attempting to establish a more effective dosing regimen for fluoride varnish.

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