The Florida Department of Health in Broward County has launched another free dental service for children – fluoride treatment to prevent cavities.
Hygienists from DOH-Broward are offering a free dental exam and tooth-strengthening fluoride varnish to clients of the department’s Women, Infants & Children (WIC) family nutrition program.
Last year, the department began providing free dental sealant treatment to students at Broward County elementary and middle schools. More than 25,000 received sealants during the past school year.
The fluoride varnish is a flavored gel that is gently brushed onto a child’s teeth to soak in for several hours or overnight. Studies show the varnish can strengthen tooth enamel and help prevent cavities.
So far, the service is being offered at WIC offices in Lauderdale Lakes and Hollywood, but will be expanded later this year to WIC offices in Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, and Pompano Beach.
The treatment will be offered to kids on hand for the family’s normal WIC visit, so no additional appointments are necessary.
“For parents, it’s like killing two birds with one stone,” said Dr. Paula Thaqi, director of DOH-Broward. “It’s like going for a dental appointment at the same time you are at WIC.”
The treatment is available for kids ages 1 to 20, and takes just a few minutes. Hygienists give the children an exam, toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, and explain the proper way to care for their teeth. Then they paint on the varnish, which comes in caramel, mint and fruit flavors.
All children who are seen are offered a free or low-cost appointment at DOH-Broward dental practice offices. There, they can see a dentist for more extensive dental care.
The fluoride service has treated about 3,000 children.
For more information call 954-467-4700, ext. 5174.