An innovative study conducted by New York University, involving nearly 3000 schoolchildren, has revealed a game-changing dental solution in the fight against cavities. Silver Diamine Fluoride, a liquid wonder applied to the tooth surface with a brush, has proven to be as effective as traditional dental sealants, which are the gold standard in cavity prevention. This remarkable discovery has the potential to revolutionize children’s oral care, offering an economical and effective approach based on school-based care.

Applications of diamine silver fluoride

Applications of diamine silver fluoride

Unveiling the Power of Silver Diamine Fluoride

Dental cavities, the most prevalent chronic ailment among children, have long posed a significant challenge, particularly among low-income families. The conventional approach of frequent dentist visits can be cumbersome, hindering access to vital oral health care. However, the study’s findings provide a beacon of hope. A solitary application of silver diamine fluoride or dental sealants during elementary school years has demonstrated an astounding 80% prevention rate for cavities. Even more striking is the fact that 50% of existing cavities were arrested and prevented from worsening when evaluated after two years.

The Impact on Children’s Lives

The implications of this breakthrough cannot be overstated. Dental cavities, if left untreated, can spiral into severe infections, negatively impacting children’s overall quality of life. Furthermore, cavities are closely associated with diminished academic performance and school attendance. The conventional barriers to regular dental check-ups, often exacerbated by financial constraints, threaten the well-being of our future generations.

Pioneering School-Based Dental Care

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, innovative strategies are being embraced to bridge the oral healthcare gap. A shining example is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s endorsement and funding of school sealant programs. Among these initiatives, a standout contender is the CariedAway project – a monumental endeavor conducted by NYU College of Dentistry researchers.

Preventive examination of schoolchildren

Preventive examination of schoolchildren

CariedAway: A Paradigm Shift

CariedAway stands as a trailblazing randomized trial, meticulously designed to compare the effectiveness of two distinct cavity-prevention techniques. On one side, we have the “simple” yet remarkably potent treatment involving silver diamine fluoride (SDF) and fluoride varnish. On the other, the “complex” treatment encompasses traditional glass ionomer sealants and fluoride varnish. The remarkable revelation is that for the same investment of time and resources, the simpler SDF therapy emerges as the champion, capable of serving a larger number of children in need.

Unveiling the Study’s Landscape

The CariedAway study spanned 47 New York City schools, catering to a diverse demographic primarily comprising children from low-income families. These schools were judiciously selected to undergo either the simple or complex treatment approach. The clinical research team, comprised of experienced dental professionals, orchestrated baseline examinations to quantify existing tooth decay. Subsequently, the appropriate treatment – be it sealants or SDF – was administered based on the school’s assigned protocol.

Silver diamine fluoride and dental sealants

New york. Typical classroom

A Pause, A Pandemic, and A Resumption

The study’s timeline was not without its challenges. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a temporary hiatus in 2019, forcing a pause in the school-based care initiative. However, two years later, as the world began to regain its footing, the research team reentered the schools for follow-up visits.

Silver diamine fluoride and dental sealants

The Triumph of Prevention

The culmination of this extensive endeavor yielded resounding success. Both the simple and complex treatments exhibited remarkable efficacy. A single application of either treatment demonstrated an awe-inspiring 80% cavity prevention rate (81% for SDF, 82% for sealants), significantly curbing the advancement of dental decay (56% for SDF, 46% for sealants).

A Glorious Path Forward

The implications of these findings are monumental. While the shortage of skilled dental professionals poses a challenge to widespread sealant programs, the allure of silver diamine fluoride is its potential to be administered by nurses – a workforce readily available in most schools. This opens a gateway to expanded access to critical oral healthcare, ensuring a brighter and healthier future for our children.

Embracing a Radiant Future

In conclusion, the revolutionary strides made by the CariedAway study in advancing children’s oral health are nothing short of extraordinary. The efficacy of silver diamine fluoride has ignited a beacon of hope, transcending socio-economic barriers and championing a new era of preventive oral care. As we forge ahead, armed with this invaluable knowledge, the trajectory of children’s health is poised for a transformational shift, promising brighter smiles and healthier lives for generations to come.

Mermaid Diagram:


uniqa banner
Curatorial Yurij
Curatorial Yurij
Head of Content at Uniqa Dental As an expert in dental industry, my task is to tell in a simple and fascinating way about complex highly organized series of procedures for the benefit of practitioners.