Monday, April 28, 2014

DentaQuest Institute ECC Virtual Learning Session a Success

DentaQuest Institute launched Phase III of its Early Childhood Caries (ECC) Collaborative, which will ensure that every child aged six months to five years that visits partnering clinics receives a comprehensive caries (cavities) risk  assessment, and those who have an increased risk of developing cavities  receive the necessary care to prevent and manage oral health issues.

The ECC Collaborative, which launched in 2008, aims to eradicate ECC by educating parents and caregivers about the importance of preventive care for young children. Phase III is an 18-month initiative that builds on Phases I and II which first assessed the overall problem and needs at partnering hospital and dental clinics and then tested the proposed protocol. Now, with 33 teams participating across the country, Phase III puts the protocol into action by maintaining contact with children and their parents to ensure the children are receiving proper treatment.

The ECC Phase III Collaborative held its first virtual learning session last week, during which the Collaborative’s partners presented their progress to date, learned quality improvement skills and attended workshops about charting, scheduling, and working with patients and caregivers. The Institute chose to host the two-day session online so that participants could stay at their site and participate with other staff members who otherwise might not be able to attend an in-person meeting.

Dr. Brian Nový, director of practice improvement at DentaQuest Institute, led a session addressing the ongoing debate about fluoride. According to Dr. Nový, while the FDA considers fluoride a drug, the fluoride concentration found in toothpaste is at the optimal level for daily use. He assured attendees that if parents monitor their child’s tooth brushing through age 6, as suggested by dental professionals, they can make sure their child is using it properly and reaping the benefits. Dr. Nový also said that the warning label on toothpaste gives the wrong impression to concerned parents, as it is highly unlikely a child will ingest enough toothpaste to be considered poisonous.

Dentists use topical, localized fluoride in a very specific amount to lower disease rates in high-risk mouths. Many dentists agree that fluoride, which can decrease tooth decay by almost 50%, played a large role in reducing the amount of tooth decay in the United States.

Dr. Nový recommended that parents maintain an open line of communication with their dentist and share questions or concerns so that the dentist can help them benefit from the latest science and have the most enjoyable experience possible.

For more information on fluoride and how to use it properly, visit our Oral Health Library.

There are many resources for understanding community water fluoridation and the science behind it at