Community Dental Health

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Cover Date:
March 2019
Print ISSN:
0265 539X
Electronic ISSN:

The acceptability of fluoride varnish and fissure sealant treatments in children aged 6-9 delivered in a school setting


Objective: To assess the acceptability of fluoride varnish and fissure sealant treatments for children. To investigate the acceptability of
delivering this treatment in a school setting for children, parents, clinicians and school staff. Basic research design: Semi-structured interviews (with children, parents, clinicians and school staff) and a questionnaire (for school staff) as part of a two-arm, randomised clinical
trial. Participants: Children aged 6-9, their parents, clinical staff and school staff. Interventions: Fluoride varnish or fissure sealant was
delivered to children from the ages of 6 to 9 years for 36 months, by a community dental service in a school setting. Fluoride varnish
was re-applied every 6 months; fissure sealant was applied once to first permanent molars and re-applied as required. Results: Interviews
with children a few days after treatment indicated little difference in preference; acceptability at this point was driven by factors such as
finding it fun to visit ‘the van’ (i.e. mobile dental unit) and receiving a “sticker” rather than specific treatment received. Interviews with
parents, clinicians and school staff indicated high acceptability of delivering this type of intervention in a school setting; this may have
been partly due to the service being delivered by a well-established, child-oriented community dental service which delivered the clinical
trial. Conclusions: Preventive fluoride varnish and fissure sealant treatments in a school setting has high overall acceptability.

Keywords: Preventive treatment; dental caries; qualitative study; fissure sealants; fluoride varnish; children; health inequality; school based prevention

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S. Morgan-Trimmer, B.L.Chadwick, Hutchings S., C. Scoble, C. Lisles, C.J. Drew, S. Murphy, T. Pickles, K. Hood, I.G. Chestnutt

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