Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that topical fluoride application may prevent early childhood caries in high-risk populations. Yet, there are few published descriptions of caries prevention curricula for primary care residents.
Methods: In 2003, the New Hampshire-Dartmouth Family Practice Residency hired a dentist and a hygienist to develop and implement a didactic and practical oral health curriculum.
Results: Over 2 years, faculty and residents competent with oral health screening and fluoride varnish application rose from 0% to 69% to 100%. In the same period, the percentage of well-child visits (ages 6 months to 3 years) with documented oral health screening and fluoride varnish application rose from 0% to 80% to 91%.
Conclusions: Our successful model of teaching early childhood caries prevention services within the well-child visit could be replicated by other residency programs. Programs may need start-up funding for initial training by dental professionals.