New research has examined the impact that Silver Diamine Fluoride can have on cavity prevention for school-aged children. Tackling cavities in younger children is crucial, with it currently being a big issue. Silver Diamine Fluoride has become increasingly popular in recent years. This research found that it can be very effective for the oral health of school children.

Calgary Students Urge “Yes” Vote to Water Fluoridation Debate - Taradale Dental

New research has looked into the impact that a liquid called Silver Diamine Fluoride can have on cavity prevention for school-aged children [1].

In positive news, the research showed that silver diamine fluoride had a very strong impact on cavity prevention, and helped to keep tooth decay at bay.

Helping children with their oral health is crucial. Cavities are a common problem for this age group. In fact, currently, dental cavities are the most common chronic disease in children [2].

Poor oral health in childhood can result in pain, school absences and poor academic performance [1]. Therefore, oral health is very important.

What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Silver diamine fluoride is a type of liquid that can be used in the treatment of cavity prevention. In practice, it is brushed onto the surface of the teeth [3].

Protecting against cavities is important. If cavities do form through tooth decay, then a filling is normally needed. If ignored, an infection will often form, resulting in the requirement of a root canal treatment to take place.

In 2023, silver diamine fluoride was designated as an “Essential Medication” by the World Health Organization [3]. Therefore, this underlines its importance.

Moreover, silver diamine fluoride has been approved by the FDA for treating tooth sensitivity [1].

Silver diamine fluoride is a specific type of fluoride, which has more of a positive impact than standard fluoride. Silver diamine fluoride works by combining the antibacterial effects of silver and the remineralizing effects of fluoride to create a liquid that can be very useful for teeth.

The Research

The research was carried out by a team at New York University’s College of Dentistry. Their findings have been published in JAMA Pediatrics [1].

The study involved approximately 4,100 elementary school students over a four-year period. Oral health in childhood is very important, making this a key group of people to study.

Many elementary schools have existing dental programs in place. However, these typically involve dental sealants. Sealant programs typically involve a dental professional visiting schools to apply a thin coating to the surface of the teeth, which is able to protect against decay [1].

However, the researchers were keen to see how silver diamine fluoride would compare to the sealant program [1]. Entering the study, around a quarter of the 4,100 participants had untreated cavities [1].

Dental professionals visited various schools as part of the study. Each school received a random treatment – either of dental sealants or silver diamine fluoride [1].

The 4,100 participants were administered either the sealant or silver diamine fluoride over a four year period, starting in 2018 [1]. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in some missed visits.

The results were very positive. The team found that both silver diamine fluoride and sealants prevented approximately the same number of cavities over the four year period [1].

In fact, a single treatment of either silver diamine fluoride or sealants were able to prevent 80% of cavities and managed to keep 50% of existing cavities from worsening over a two year period [1]. This summarizes its effectiveness.

The researchers also pointed out that dental hygienists were the ones that applied the silver diamine fluoride to the participants. This proved very successful, leading to them suggesting that hygienists can play a crucial role themselves in cavity prevention programs – rather than just dentists.


The research produced positive findings. It shows that silver diamine fluoride offers an effective alternative to dental sealants. Moreover, they can also reduce costs, with silver diamine fluoride an inexpensive treatment option.

These programs can help to protect children’s teeth, and can play a crucial role in their long-term oral health. Protecting them against cavities is vital.

Ryan Richard Ruff is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Health Promotion at NYU College of Dentistry – and was one of the lead authors in the study. He commented on the findings, saying that the “study reaffirms that both sealants and silver diamine fluoride are effective against cavities” [4].

Meanwhile, co-author Tamarinda Barry Godin said that “most research shows that silver diamine fluoride can stop a cavity from progressing further” [4]. However, she points out that this study suggests that silver diamine fluoride “can prevent cavities from happening in the first place” [4].

Overall, there are a huge range of benefits that silver diamine fluoride can provide. It seems to have a similar effectiveness to sealants, making them an excellent choice in the treatment of oral health in children.

Thinking points…

[1] This article mentions cavities a lot. In adulthood, cavities are crucial to avoid, but unfortunately are often picked up on at a late stage. Early detection is very important. Therefore, remember to regularly attend a dental clinic, as dentists are able to spot problems and act to treat them. You should attend a clinic at least once every six months, why not book now?

[2] If you have children, this is an important article to consider, as cavity prevention is crucial. If your child’s school does not have a cavity prevention program, then don’t worry, as there are things you can do! Ensuring they brush at least twice a day and eat healthily is important. But another key area is to ensure that they go to the dentist for a check-up regularly. We recommend booking an appointment for them now!

What we offer at Taradale Dental

Taradale Dental is a Calgary dental clinic that provide its patients with a range of treatment options and advice, with the aim of improving oral health and boosting overall wellbeing!

We advise our patients to attend our Calgary dental clinic at least twice per year for a regular dental check-up. At these check-ups, we provide a comprehensive review of a patient’s oral health. If any problems are detected, we have many treatments available. For example, these include cavity fillings and root canals. To strengthen your oral health, we recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly.

Here at Taradale Dental, we also have some cosmetic treatments available! These include dental implants, teeth whitening and Invisalign™! Our patients find that these treatments have a positive impact on their appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

Moreover, the fees of our treatments at our Calgary dental clinic Taradale Dental are set in line with the Alberta Dental Fee Guide. This ensures transparent and fair pricing, with no hidden costs.

We hope to see you soon at our Taradale Dental clinic in Calgary! You can find out more about us by visiting our website


[1] Ruff, R. R., Godin, T. J. B., & Niederman, R. (2024). Noninferiority of Silver Diamine Fluoride vs Sealants for Reducing Dental Caries Prevalence and Incidence. JAMA Pediatrics. (Pre-publication issue). DOI:

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Children’s Oral Health. Available: Last accessed: 9th March 2024.

[3] World Health Organization. (2023). World Health Organization (WHO) Recognizes Silver Diamine Fluoride as Dental Essential Medicines. Available: Last accessed: 9th March 2024.

[4] New York University. (2024). Silver diamine fluoride prevents cavities and keeps existing ones from worsening in school-based program. Available: Last accessed: 9th March 2024.