PHILADELPHIA — More children are likely to receive fluoride varnish to protect both their primary and adult teeth from decay when fluoride is administered within a pediatrician’s office, according to a recent presentation at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners National Conference.
“Where I live, we don’t have a lot of access to dental care. Without access to this care, children’s teeth are not as healthy as they could be, especially their adult teeth,” Diana L. Lamboy, DNP, FNP-C, from Frontier Nursing University, said in an interview with Infectious Diseases in Children. “Fluoride is not in our water, and this process allows the pediatrician to have this conversation with parents and to put varnish on the child’s teeth at the pediatric visit. They could even prescribe fluoride if the parents want that.”
To implement an intervention involving fluoride varnish application and oral hygiene education, Lamboy conducted a study that involved five phases. The first phase involved no education for parents or children other than brochures and only included children who were receiving check-ups at 18, 24 and 36 months. As the phases progressed, Lamboy became more involved in staff meetings and more educational information was provided, including fluorosis fact sheets, proper tooth brushing technique and dental care basics.
The number of children who received fluoride varnish during a pediatric visit during their 18-, 24- and 36-month check-ups increased significantly after the intervention was introduced. Before intervention, only 20.8% (n = 5) of children visiting a pediatrician for a check-up were administered fluoride varnish. During the first post-intervention assessment, this number increased to 44.1% of children (n = 15), and 31.6% (n = 30) were given fluoride varnish during the second post-intervention assessment.
“It isn’t that hard to implement something like this. There are a lot of resources out there, and the procedure is done in about 5 minutes by the medical assistant,” Lamboy said. “Fluoride is a great, reimbursable thing, and Medicaid reimburses for it as well. We don’t want to bypass the dentist because they’re very important, but this is another resource for the population.” — by Katherine Bortz
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Thompson N, et al. Management of comorbidities associated with childhood overweight and obesity. Presented at: The American Association of Nurse Practitioners National Conference; June 20-25, 2017; Philadelphia.
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