NIH clinical trial shows silver diamine fluoride more effective than placebo in treating pediatric cavities

The preliminary results of a recent National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) funded study​ published in Pediatric Dentistry have determined that silver diamine fluoride (SDF), a topical liquid, can put an end to tooth decay in pediatric patients. As reported in a National Institute of Health press release, the treatment stopped the progression of 54% of cavities “compared to 21% of those treated with a placebo.”

As detailed in the NIH press release, “SDF is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for treating dental sensitivity and is used off label to treat tooth decay” through non-invasive topical application. Having “been widely used for management of tooth decay in other countries for decades,” the release continued, previous “studies suggest that the silver in SDF kills cavity-causing microbes and helps stop destruction of the tooth, while the fluoride helps to rebuild and strengthen the tooth.”

About the study

As detailed in the study overview, the trial, which began in October of 2018 and will be completed next month, “is a phase III, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled superiority trial, with two parallel groups (placebo vs. SDF applied to cavitated lesions) involving a total of 1144 children with the primary outcome assessed at six months after initial treatment.”

Child participants ranged between one and five years of age and were recruited from “early childhood education programs, such as Head Start centers, Early Head Start centers, and equivalent city/state subsidized preschool programs, or children attending dental clinics associated with the clinical trial sites” who demonstrated signs of severe tooth decay, the study overview explained.

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