KIDS SMILE
“FLUORIDE VARNISH” PROJECT

Magoffin County Health Department continues its efforts in “Making Community Health Differences.”

On June 16, 2003, seven nurses from the health department attended a training program sponsored by the UK Division of Dental Public Health /College of Dentistry. The training allowed the health department to begin a new program for children in Magoffin County between the ages of 1 and 5. The program, called KIDS SMILE, is designed for prevention of tooth decay in early childhood and has proved to be very effective.

Representatives from UK’s College of Dentistry, having expressed concern regarding the growing number of dental health problems in Kentucky’s infants and children, collaborated with the Department of Public Health and the Kentucky Board of Nursing to develop a simple dental procedure that can be performed by registered nurses in a variety of healthcare settings.

The procedure, called “fluoride varnishing” is very safe and simple and can be done very quickly. A thin layer of a special fluoride mixture is applied to all surfaces of the teeth forming a protective barrier and neutralizing plaque. Studies have shown that this can be very effective in preventing tooth decay, and in some cases, can even reverse early decay.

The program is not merely an application of varnish but includes other aspects of screening for early childhood caries, providing oral health education messages and materials, and making proper referrals to local practitioners if necessary for follow-up care.

The KIDS SMILE service is now available at the health department. We hope to also provide this service in our School Health Care Units.

The staff at Magoffin County Health Department along with UK’s Division of Dental Public Health encourages all parents to take advantage of this dental health service. Working together, we can make a difference in the oral health of our children.