Philly journalist discusses silver diamine fluoride and other children’s health issues

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ’s topic leader on oral health and the author of “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.” She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Anna Nguyen

A prominent pediatric dental organization recently issued guidelines for a treatment that can offer a painless, minimally invasive alternative to drilling and filling teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has offered a “provisional recommendation” for the use of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) to halt and manage tooth decay in children.

The product, which is painted onto the diseased area of the tooth, been used in Japan for years but has only recently attracted the attention of U.S. healthcare providers.

SDF has a cosmetic drawback: it turns the decayed area of the tooth black. If the decay is advanced, or if the tooth is abscessed, more traditional methods of care are required. But SDF does represent an important tool for stopping tooth decay before the progress of the disease creates an emergency, dentist and AAPD president James Nickman told Philly.com’s Anna Nguyen, who this fall offered readers an informative package about the treatment.

In this Q and A, Nguyen discusses her coverage of oral health and other topics on her wide-ranging beat. She also shares some wisdom on tapping experts to get helpful information to her audience.

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