Fluoride varnish is a protective medication painted on teeth to help prevent new tooth decay from forming and to help stop old decay from progressing.
Fluoride varnish has been shown to produce up to a 38% reduction in tooth decay in children who are at moderate to high risk for decay.
What is the Public Health Issue?
Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases seen in children today. The pain from tooth decay can prevent a child from being able to eat, speak, sleep and learn properly. Teeth are at risk for decay from the moment they erupt.
Is Fluoride Varnish safe?
Fluoride varnish is safe to use on babies from the time they have their first tooth (around 6 months of age). Fluoride varnish is approved by the American Dental Association, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What are the additional benefits of a fluoride varnish application to the child?
Physicians, nurses, and other licensed health care providers who choose to provide this highly beneficial preventive service to their patients should always help the child establish a dental home--especially if the patient is at high risk for dental problems from conditions such as extremely poor oral hygiene, tooth decay, defective enamel, frequent intake of sugared medications and drinks, special health care needs, suspected soft tissue pathology, and oral pain.
The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs recommends fluoride varnish as the best professionally applied fluoride for moderate to high risk patients of all age groups.
ACT 90 of 2011
As a result of ACT 90 of 2011, Arkansas physicians, nurses, and other licensed health care professionals as well as dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants can now apply fluoride varnish.
Specific Requirements Pertaining To Fluoride Varnish
- A minimum of one hour of continuing medical education shall be completed for any professional applying fluoride varnish.
- The physician will keep a certificate of completion on file for themselves and all those under their supervision.
- The Office of Oral Health shall approve training courses on dental caries risk assessment
and fluoride varnish application. It shall maintain a list of approved programs and publish the list on the Department website.
- The Office of Oral Health will keep appropriate records.
The course Caries Risk Assessment, Fluoride Varnish and Counseling appears on A-Train, a learning management system for public health. This course is RECOMMENDED by the Office of Oral Health to meet the training requirement on dental caries risk assessment and fluoride varnish application required by ACT 90 of 2011.
This course focuses on caries prevention. It offers a brief review of Early Childhood Caries (ECC) and address how the use of fluoride is part of a comprehensive approach to a child's oral health. Specifically, clinicians will learn the benefits, appropriate safety precautions, and dosing for fluoride, as well as how to apply fluoride varnish and provide adequate follow-up care.
Instructions and links to the on-line required course
Course title: Caries Risk Assessment, Fluoride Varnish and Counseling
Directions for taking the course:
- Establish an A-Train Account. Go to https://ar.train.org/. For instructions on How to Create an A-Train Account. Click here.
- Log in to your new a-Train Account. Access the course page from the HOME page by entering the course ID 1040373 into the search box at the top right.
- Click on the course title and then the registration tab
- Type your Profession (for instance: physician), Arkansas license number, and expiration date.
Click “Go To Step Two of Registration”.
- To begin the course, click “next” at bottom of page.
Fill out second registration page. You must register again to receive your completion certificate.
Click on “submit”.
- Begin course.
- Take assessment and score at least 80%.
- After a successful assessment, click on ”Download your certificate of completion”.
- Save your “Smiles for Life” certificate to computer and print if desired.
- After closing the course, click on “Home” in upper left hand corner of next page. Do not return to course page by clicking on here.
- On the right hand side of the screen, click on box titled “My Learning”.
- Click on subtitle “TRAIN Transcript”.
- Locate the course and click the “Upload External Certificate” button.
- Under “Title”, type the name of the course (Caries Risk Assessment, Fluoride Varnish and Counseling)
- Click BROWSE and select the certificate you will be uploading.
- Click UPLOAD to attach the certificate to your A-TRAIN account.
- Exit A-Train.