A child’s oral health can make a big impact on his or her overall health and well-being, but not all kids have access to affordable dental care.

In fact, low socio-economic status is the single greatest risk factor predicting tooth decay or cavities, particularly for children under the age of 3.

“During Fairview’s last community health needs assessment process, dental care was identified as a need in most of our communities,” says Paula McNabb, Fairview Community Health.

Paula and her colleagues saw an opportunity to help by partnering with the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry to add a dental varnish outreach component to Fairview’s longstanding program that brings influenza immunizations to underserved communities.

Fluoride varnish has been found to help prevent tooth decay or cavities on permanent teeth and prevent or reduce tooth decay or cavities in the primary (baby) teeth of young children.

“The application of dental varnish is one way that we can impact the overall dental health of the community and reach underserved populations,” explains Paula.

Dental hygiene students provided 350 free dental varnish treatments to children in the program’s first year.

Now that is something we can all smile about.

To learn more about how Fairview is driving a healthier future, visit Fairview.org.