Prevent Cavities With Dental Varnish

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(credit: CBS) Natalie Nyhus
Natalie Nyhus joined the WCCO-TV team in January of 2011. She anchors...
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CBS Minnesota (con't)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Halloween is over, so now would probably be a great time to talk a little bit about cavities and children’s dental health.

Dr. Amos S. Deinard from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota says that dental care should start earlier than you would think — at the eruption of the first tooth, which happens at about 6 months. That’s because cavities are an infectious disease and therefore preventable.

One of the best forms of cavity prevention? Fluoride.

“If you do the right thing, you can get a child to age 50 with perfect teeth. My oldest child has the gums of a 90-year-old but the teeth of a newborn because he saw a dentist every six months starting at age 3,” Deinard said. “And he got fluoride all the time.”

Fairview primary care clinics are now offering what’s called dental varnish. It can be done on children who have just a few teeth and aren’t going to the dentist yet. It’s also a great option for parents who can’t afford to take their children to the dentist.

It takes seconds and is applied like nail polish.

Dental varnish is covered by Medicaid and can be done up to four times per year.

As for the fluoride that’s in our tap water, Deinard says that helps, but not enough. Also, more mothers are turning to bottled water for their children, which means those kids are no longer getting that fluoride that has been added to tap water.

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