Pediatric Staff Helping to Prevent Dental Decay
Medical Assistant Tammy Fraser applies a
treatment to nine month old Kaia’s teeth.
Protecting a young child’s teeth is very important because dental decay or cavities is one of the most common healthcare concerns for children. This is why the pediatric providers at the Allegan Medical Clinic have begun providing fluoride varnish for all children 0 – 3, who have teeth, during well child visits.
A fluoride varnish is a safe topical fluoride treatment, which is painted on teeth with a small brush. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, fluoride varnish treatments can help prevent tooth decay, slow it down, or stop it from getting worse. Studies have shown fluoride varnish reduces the risk of cavities by 35-47%.
“Our goal is to try to help prevent cavities,” said Dr. Sara Franzen, pediatrician at the Allegan Medical Clinic. “Many people think baby teeth don’t matter because they fall out. However cavities in a baby or toddlers teeth can cause pain and may prevent a child from getting proper nutrition and sleep, can cause speech development issues and they preserve space in the mouth for permanent teeth.”
Prior to beginning this program, Allegan Medical Clinic’s pediatricians met with a few area dentists to make sure they were supportive and on board.
“We wanted to collaborate with the dentists to see how we could work together to help improve oral health in our community,” said Dr. Franzen. “Applying varnish in our office is a great first step, but we believe the dentist is a key member of a child’s health care team and also discuss with our families the importance of finding a dental home.”
The entire pediatric staff went through the Michigan Caries Prevention training program and received their Smiles for Life certification. The Michigan Caries Prevention training program is offered through the Altarum Institute, in collaboration with Delta Dental of Michigan, the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, and the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Allegan Medical Clinic is a part of Allegan Professional Health Services and has been providing the community with the most comprehensive, compassionate care for over 35 years. Physician specialties include family practice, pediatrics and sleep medicine. For more information, visit alleganhealth.com or call (269) 686-5800.