Fluoride Action Network

Remote health workers to brush up on fluoride varnish skills to help curb kids tooth decay

Source: ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | November 21st, 2014
Location: Australia

Aboriginal health workers and school, child and remote health nurses will soon be trained in applying fluoride varnish to children’s teeth in remote communities.

In what has been described as a WA first, health workers, other than dental practitioners, will be able to apply the varnish to help prevent tooth decay in the Kimberley, Pilbara, mid-west, Gascoyne and Goldfields.

The WA Government said a special exemption had been granted from the WA Chief Pharmacist.

Health Minister Kim Hames said about 50 per cent of Aboriginal children in remote areas suffered from preventable dental problems.

Dr Hames said the optional varnish was an effective treatment when teeth were showing signs of decay.

“There’s no risk of excess fluoride exposure, the fluoride is bound into the material that’s like a varnish, it’s not proper varnish but it’s something that is safe for humans, it’s doesn’t decay and is then consumed,” he said.

“It has been operating for a while in the Northern Territory and we’ve copied it off them because it was very successful, so now we have brought it to WA.”

Training in the application of the varnish will be offered early next year.