A low-cost liquid can prevent dental cavities in children, according to a new study. PHOTO BY PIXABAY/PEXELS 
A low-cost liquid can prevent dental cavities in children, according to a new study. PHOTO BY PIXABAY/PEXELS 

A low-cost liquid can prevent dental cavities in children, according to a new study. PHOTO BY PIXABAY/PEXELS 



By Isobel Williams

A low-cost liquid can prevent dental cavities in children, according to a new study.

School-based research showed that a single treatment of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) prevented 80 percent of cavities and kept 50 percent of existing cavities from worsening.

A study from NYU College of Dentistry found that the inexpensive cavity-fighting liquid works just as well as dental sealants to keep tooth decay at bay in a school cavity prevention and treatment program.

Senior author Professor Richard Niederman said: “A growing body of research shows that SDF—which is quicker to apply and less expensive than sealants—can prevent and arrest cavities, reducing the need for drilling and filling.”

School-based research showed that a single treatment of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) prevented 80 percent of cavities and kept 50 percent of existing cavities from worsening. PHOTO BY NADEZHDA MORYAK/PEXELS

Originally approved by the FDA for treating tooth sensitivity, the solution is brushed onto the surface of teeth, killing decay-causing bacteria and remineralizing teeth to prevent further decay.

The researchers followed more than 4,000 New York based elementary school students for four years.

More than a quarter of the kids had untreated cavities at the start of the study.

The authors note that dental cavities are the most prevalent chronic disease in children and can lead to pain, school absences, and lower academic performance.

At each school visit, a team of health professionals examined children’s teeth and applied either sealants or SDF followed by fluoride varnish, depending on which treatment the school was randomly assigned to receive.

School-based research showed that a single treatment of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) prevented 80 percent of cavities and kept 50 percent of existing cavities from worsening. PHOTO BY NADEZHDA MORYAK/PEXELS

Starting in 2018, the team visited each school twice a year, although the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures led to missed visits.

The original findings show that a single treatment of either SDF or sealants prevented 80 percent of cavities and kept 50 percent of existing cavities from worsening two years later.

Associate program director Dr. Tamarinda Barry Godín said: “Most research shows that SDF can stop a cavity from progressing further.

“Our study demonstrated that SDF can prevent cavities from happening in the first place.”

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, reveals that SDF and sealants prevented roughly the same number of cavities after children were followed for a total of four years.

Moreover, both sealants and SDF reduced the risk of decay at each follow-up visit.

The researchers hope that SDF will keep kids from needing fillings, saving families and the healthcare system money.

Associate professor Ryan Richard Ruff said: “Our longitudinal study reaffirms that both sealants and SDF are effective against cavities.

“SDF is a promising alternative that can support school-based cavity prevention—not to replace the dental sealant model, but as another option that also prevents and arrests decay.

“Nurses may be an untapped resource for addressing oral health inequities. Our results suggest that nurses can effectively provide this preventive care, which could dramatically improve access, given the role of school nurses and the size of the nursing workforce.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker