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Rainbow Pediatrics offering fluoride varnish

Varnish now standard of care to prevent tooth decay

By Molly MacMillan | May 05, 2016

View the article on Cape Gazette here.

Photo by: Molly MacMillan The team at Rainbow Pediatrics, including (l-r) Drs. Pankaj and Vibha Sanwal, Nurse Practitioner Anastacia Jester, Registered Nurse Megan Tubbs and Office Manager Brenda Andrade is helping to fight pediatric dental decay.

Rainbow Pediatrics has announced it is now offering a fluoride varnish for patients to prevent early childhood caries, or cavities.

Pediatric caries can progress to local infections, systematic infections and even death in rare instances, if left untreated, says Rainbow Pediatrics partner Dr. Vibha Sanwal.

"The aim of the fluoride varnish is to prevent these," Vibha said. "Cavity-free by age 3 - that's the goal. One in four children currently begins kindergarten with early childhood caries."

Sanwal previously treated patients at AI DuPont Children's Hospital before joining Dr. Pankaj Sanwal at the Lewes and Georgetown-based early childhood medical offices he founded in 2001.

Rainbow Pediatrics began the applications in March, and under recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Task Force, continues the quick, painless application process every six months from the first tooth until age 3.

"This is something very new," Vibha said. "Since we started doing it I'm finding so many kids at 15 months and 18 months already with yellow teeth."

She said a shortage of pediatric dentists is part of what is feeding the problem, and most dentists won't accept patients under age 3, when they are more likely to be able to sit in the exam chairs reliably.

In the bilingual Georgetown offices, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Anastacia Jester agreed with the doctor that many parents don't realize their children are eating too much sugar, causing tooth enamel to break down, yellowing and cavities.

"A lot of parents are not aware, even those who are not from a low socioeconomic status, because that was the norm," Vibha said. "They may never have seen a dentist until age 3 or later."

"It poses challenges for sure," Jester said. "Now we have an intervention."

Application of the fluoride varnish reduces the incidence of dental caries between 30 and 63 percent, Vibha said.

"It's only another three minutes of our time," she said. "Education takes longer than application."

View the article on Cape Gazette here.