An Integration of Varnish Fluoride Therapy in Primary Health Care and the Role of Primary Health Care Practitioners in the Control of Early Childhood Caries: A Pilot Study
Purpose: To assess the effect of varnish fluoride therapy accompanying routine oral health care in order to reduce primary tooth caries and early childhood caries.
Methods: The current experimental study was conducted on 130 younger-than-two-year-old children. The samples were randomly divided into two groups (experimental group, n=65, and control group, n=65). At first, primary health practitioners were trained and qualified for varnish fluoride therapy. After getting written signed parental consent, varnish fluoride therapy was started as soon as the primary teeth emerged from gingival tissue in experimental group and conducted with regular primary dental caries prevention care once every three months. The control group just received regular primary dental caries prevention care. After two years, decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) index was measured based on WHO questionnaire by two examiners in both groups. Data analysis was done by SPSS Statistical software Package.
Results: Varnish fluoride therapy resulted in lower DMFT index in experimental group than in control group. Anterior primary tooth caries (central and lateral incisors) was reduced more in experimental group than in control group. Also, caries reduction for central anterior tooth in experimental group was greater than that of control group but the difference was not statically significant.
Conclusions: Under the conditions of the present study, the integration of varnish fluoride therapy into health system and its delivery by primary healthcare practitioners can result in lower DMFT index as well as improved target-population coverage.