Beginning in August, fluoride varnish treatment for children is being offered on Tuesdays at the Child Health Clinic located in the Dougherty County Health Department. The service, which is covered by Medicaid, is being provided by the Southwest Health District’s Oral Health program.
“The State of Georgia has implemented the Fluoride Varnish Program because the incidence of early childhood cavities is much higher in certain high-risk populations,” said Southwest Health District Dental Director Dr. Olivia Taylor. “Implementing proven strategies, such as fluoride varnish, in the first year of life, has the potential to prevent a significant burden of dental disease.”
Tooth decay in children is a widespread preventable disease, she said. Children as young as 12 months old can get cavities.
”Cavities in baby teeth can cause pain and may prevent children from being able to eat, speak, sleep and learn properly,” Taylor said. “To be most effective, fluoride varnish should be provided before cavities occur. That’s why it is recommended for infants.”
Fluoride varnish is a sticky protective coating painted on teeth that causes the outer layer (enamel) to harden. “The fluoride varnish releases fluoride over several months, which strengthens the teeth and helps to prevent tooth decay,” Taylor said. “The varnish can prevent new decay by 60% and stop decay that has started.”
Applying the varnish is quick, easy and painless. It should be applied at least every six months, Taylor said. Fluoride varnish is endorsed by the American Dental Association and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
For more information about the new fluoride varnish service, call 229-430-6332 or 229-430-6342. An appointment is not necessary.