Inexpensive liquid for reducing tooth sensitivity fights caries

A four-year study showed that silver diamine fluoride helps prevent dental caries and can be used as a primary treatment for the prevention and control of dental caries.

Inexpensive liquid to reduce tooth sensitivity fights caries

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) for the treatment of dental sensitivity. There is considerable research interest in the off-label use of SDF to prevent dental caries. A study conducted at New York University College of Dentistry compared the effectiveness of SDF and dental sealants as a primary means of caries prevention and control. It has been established that with its help comparable results are achieved in the field of caries prevention in schools. According to the study authors, SDF represents a faster and less expensive treatment option that may reduce the need for invasive tooth preparation.

The four-year study focused on local schoolchildren at the highest risk for tooth decay, low-income minority children attending elementary schools where at least half the students were black or Hispanic. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either SDF or dental sealant and atraumatic restorative treatment. A total of 4100 children completed follow-up and were included in the final analysis. The baseline caries prevalence was 27.2%, and caries prevalence was found to decrease over time in the study group. It was found that all participants had comparable overall caries incidence, indicating that the incidence of new caries lesions was similar throughout the study population.

In discussing the results, the authors noted that the demonstrated effectiveness of school containment programs was hampered by their high cost. “We conclude that SDF is an effective prevention alternative for community organizations that can help address these existing barriers,” they wrote.

This study is a follow-up to a two-year study by the same research group that was published in February 2023 in JAMA Network Open. A single dose of SDF or dental sealant has been found to prevent 80% of caries and stop the progression of 50% of existing caries.

Senior study author Dr. Richard Niederman, professor of epidemiology and health promotion at the dental school, commented in a university press release: “A growing number of studies show that SDF, which is faster to apply and less expensive than sealants, can prevent tooth decay by reducing the need for drilling and filling. ” Study co-author Dr Tamarind Barry Godin, deputy director of the research project and chief dental officer, said: “Most studies show that SDF can prevent further development of dental caries. Our study shows that SDF can prevent early caries from occurring in the first place.”

Lead author Dr Ryan Richard Ruff, Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion at the School of Dentistry, said: “Our longitudinal study confirms that both sealants and SDF are effective against dental caries. SDF is a promising alternative that can help prevent dental caries in schools – not as a replacement for dental sealant, but as another option that also prevents and reverses the progression of dental caries.”