Community Health Gives Children a Reason to Smile

We’re giving children a new reason to smile.

Beginning this fall, our Community Health team will be expanding the Fairview-sponsored Minnesota Immunization Networking Initiative (MINI) program to include the option of dental varnish for participating children.

This new initiative is in partnership with University of Minnesota Health with Lauren Johnson, director of patient and family support services and Community Relations, leading implementation.

Preventing cavities

Fluoride varnish is professionally applied outside the dental office in medical offices or in community-based programs and has been found to be effective in preventing tooth decay or cavities on permanent teeth. It also has recently shown to prevent or reduce tooth decay or cavities in the primary (baby) teeth of young children.

Low socio-economic status is the single greatest risk factor predicting tooth decay or cavities, particularly for children under the age of 3.

“During our last community health needs assessment process, dental care was identified as a need in most of our communities. The application of dental varnish is one way that we can impact the overall dental health of the community,” explains Paula McNabb, MINI clinical volunteer coordinator.

Practice makes perfect

Community Health piloted the dental varnish program at Risen Christ Catholic School in Minneapolis on May 9. Volunteers from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry’s dental hygiene program applied the varnish to more than 20 children and provided education about the importance of dental health.

Start-up costs for the initiative were provided by a Fairview Foundation Greatest Needs grant. Learn more about Fairview Foundation and giving: http://www.fairview.org/Giving/index.htm

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