Fluoride Varnish 101: Everything You Need to Know

Fluoride Varnish 101: Everything You Need to Know

Feb 01, 2021

Cavities are common among children, affecting about 42 percent of children between ages 2 and 11. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth with mouthwash can help get rid of plaques, but to prevent cavities, you’ll need other preventive measures. Fluoride treatment is one of the recommended preventive treatments that you can use to help eliminate the cavities.

Fluoride treatment is available in two types; topical and systemic. Topical products are applied to the enamel to strengthen it. Systemic treatment involves the products that are ingested such as supplements. The dentists mostly use both to have effective results. However, fluoride varnish is used for children.

What is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride varnish is a coating that is applied to the enamel to strengthen and harden it. This helps the teeth to withstand bacterial attacks and prevent cavities from developing.

Why Is Varnish Used?

The enamel is strong, but it can get damaged because of bacterial infections. When your child eats sugary treats, the bacteria in the mouth break it down and produce an acid solution. It is this solution that attacks the enamel and makes it weak. The more the teeth are exposed to this solution the higher the chances of developing cavities.

Furthermore, the enamel loses essential minerals such as calcium and phosphate. These minerals harden the enamel and maintain its health. When the demineralization process happens, the teeth are left without protection.

Using fluoride can help reverse the demineralization process. Plus, it also reverses or slows down the cavity-forming process. Fluoride varnish is used in children because it reduces the chances of them swallowing it.

When Is It Recommended?

Fluoride varnish can be used from the time the first tooth comes out. It is recommended for the primary teeth because they not only shape the face but also hold the place for the permanent teeth.

How Is the Fluoride Varnish Applied?

The dentist can apply the fluoride varnish during your routine dental checkup. But, at times it is done as a standalone treatment. The dentist will first clean the teeth to remove the plaques. Next, the varnish is painted on the teeth with a brush. It is a quick process and local anesthesia is not used.

The varnish will stick and harden when it comes in contact with saliva. The child can feel the varnish harden, but will not be able to remove it or lick it off.

The varnish will stay put for 4 to 12 hours after it is applied, and then it is rinsed out.

What Can You During and After the Varnish is Removed?

Your child can eat and drink as normal after the varnish is applied. However, they should avoid eating hard, hot, or sticky foods to avoid pulling off the varnish.

They should also wait for four to six hours after the varnish is removed to brush their teeth. Most dentists advise you to wait until the next morning before they brush their teeth.

Is Fluoride Varnish Safe?

Fluoride varnish is safe because only a small amount of fluoride is applied. Plus, it has a pleasant taste that most children enjoy.

You may, however, notice a yellow pigmentation on the teeth. This is a normal occurrence and the teeth will return to normal after the varnish is removed.

How Long Will the Varnish Last?

Fluoride will protect the teeth for several months before they are ready for reapplication. The dentist can recommend fluoride varnish every three to six months depending on the risk of cavities.

Is Fluoride Varnish Covered by Insurance?

Most dental insurance providers cover fluoride varnish. But, consult your provider first for information on the procedures covered.

What Are Other Preventive Measures?

It is worth noting that fluoride varnish does not eliminate the risk of cavities. It only reduces or slows down the process. You need to combine varnish with other preventive measures such as regular dental cleaning and checkups. If your child is at a high risk of cavities, the dentist may opt for sealants to prevent dental cavities.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Pleasure Dental for more information on fluoride treatment and our other general dentistry services.

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