Nova Scotia Schools Move from Mouth Rinse to Fluoride Varnish

Dentistry Today


Nova Scotia’s school-based public health fluoride program will move from a mouth rinse to a varnish at the start of the 2020 school year. The fluoride varnish only requires two treatments per year instead of the suggested 26 treatments for mouth rinse, allowing for less class disruption.

“Oral health is a provincial priority for Public Health,” said Catherine Hebb, a director with Nova Scotia Health Authority Public Health. “We are excited to be moving toward a fluoride varnish that will increase efficiencies, allowing our team of dental hygienists more time to focus on other important areas of oral health, like water fluoridation and food insecurity.” 

While the transition was planned for next year, an unanticipated national shortage of fluoride mouth rinse means Public Health will not be able to offer a school-based fluoride program this school year.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re faced with this unforeseen shortage, but this gives us the chance to readjust our delivery model in a way that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program,” Hebb said. 

The program is offered to students in 129 public schools in Nova Scotia, including 38% of elementary students in grades primary to six. Schools are targeted based on populations that can benefit the most from the program.

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