There’s a new way to address dental cavities, and it does not involve sealants being applied by a dentist or dental hygienist.

The new technique is just as effective as dental sealants but could be more cost-effective than the latter. It utilizes silver diamine fluoride, which was found to lower the risk of cavities in children by 80%.

Dental sealants have always been the preferred method to treat cavities. However, a dentist is required to perform the grueling procedure, making it a bit expensive.

With the new technique, silver diamine fluoride is simply brushed onto the teeth to yield positive results. This could be done by a dental nurse instead of a dentist.

NYU College of Dentistry researchers also found that the new method can stop cavities from getting worse in 50% of cases, making it more effective than dental sealants.

In their study published in JAMA Network Open, the researchers surveyed 3,000 children from 47 different New York City schools for two years. The trials began in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The students were randomly selected to receive either the dental sealant treatment or the silver diamine fluoride method. But before the treatments were applied, the team visited each school to measure the baseline level of tooth decay of the participants.

After analyzing data collected from the follow-up, the researchers found that the sealant treatment prevented cavities by 82%, while the new method prevented them by 81%.

In terms of stopping cavities from progressing, the team found that the sealants were 46% effective. On the other hand, the fluoride method had a 56% success rate.

“[One was] remarkably effective over the following two-year period. I know of no other dental preventive intervention that had this great a beneficial impact across the pandemic,” senior author Dr. Richard Niederman, an NYU College of Dentistry professor, said, as per the New York Post.

The findings could be beneficial to kids, especially those in low socioeconomic areas, who may be unable to afford the more expensive sealant treatment. Children from these areas are said to be twice as likely to have untreated cavities.

Dental care
Brushing your teeth doesn't just keep your smile bright, but it also helps keeps you healthy. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images