Fluoride has been proven to strengthen and protect tooth enamel from forming cavities. It really is a requirement for children in keeping their teeth healthy. If you are a parent, it’s important to you that your child has healthy teeth and gums. A pediatrician may talk to you about it even before the first tooth has erupted. After teeth start coming in, one way to help ensure they are protected against decay is by applying fluoride varnish. Both pediatricians and pediatric dentists are able to seal teeth with a fluoride varnish.
Varnish can also be used on adults to aid in keeping teeth free from cavities. If your child’s pediatrician or dentist has suggested using a fluoride varnish, or if you are considering using it for an older child or yourself, you may have questions about what it is, how to use it, and what the benefits are. At Hamby Family Dental Center, your Fuquay-Varina dentist, our dental professionals are experienced in using fluoride varnish to help protect teeth for both children and adults. This article explains what fluoride varnish is, how it works, its benefits, and how to use it so you are better able to make decisions regarding this treatment.
What Is Fluoride Varnish?
First, what is fluoride? Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally and is released from rocks into the soil, water, and air. It helps strengthen tooth enamel and makes teeth more resistant to decay. Just about all water contains some fluoride but the amount is usually not enough to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride can be added to drinking water as a public health action to help reduce cavities.
As the name implies, fluoride varnish is a solution–either liquid or gel–that contains a high concentration of fluoride and can be applied to the outer enamel of the teeth. A thin layer is applied directly to the teeth, which hardens and releases fluoride into the enamel. It’s important to note that fluoride varnish treatments cannot completely prevent cavities. Fluoride varnish treatments can best help prevent decay when a child and/or adult is also engaging in a thorough oral routine that includes brushing using the right amount of toothpaste with fluoride, flossing regularly, getting regular dental care, and eating a healthy diet.
How Does Fluoride Varnish Work?
Time takes a toll on our teeth. Chewing foods that are rough on teeth as well as other bad habits like eating sugary foods and not flossing or brushing regularly wear the tooth enamel down. After a while, enamel becomes weak and teeth become more prone to cavities. Fluoride varnish slows down the development of decay and makes the enamel more resistant to acid attack. Fluoride varnishes work well on teeth when applied at least twice yearly.
What Are the Benefits of Fluoride Varnish?
The benefits for children are tremendous. Tooth decay is one of the most common preventable diseases in children; children as young as nine months can get cavities.
- Fluoride varnish can prevent cavities and stop cavities that are formed from getting worse. This treatment has been proven to reduce the prevalence of dental caries (cavities) in baby teeth by 37% and in permanent teeth by 43%.
- Fluoride varnish treatment is quick, simple, and non-invasive. It must be applied to children’s teeth by a pediatrician or dental professional but doesn’t have to be done in a dentist’s office. It can be performed at a school or daycare, for example, as part of a community program.
Fluoride treatments are not only for kids who are having cavities or for people who live in regions where the drinking water is not fluoridated. Topical fluoride treatments can be a benefit for all age groups. Adults who have excessive wear, thin tooth enamel, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, or dental sensitivity see much improvement with fluoride treatments.
How to Use Fluoride Varnish
Fluoride varnish is typically applied at the dentist’s office; however, as an adult if you have excessive wear or suffer from chronic tooth decay, you can get the varnish and apply it yourself.
The dentist will dry your teeth after examining them, then applies the varnish. The varnish solution is painted on the top and sides of each tooth with a small brush. The actual solution is sticky but it hardens when it comes in contact with saliva. It doesn’t hurt when it is applied and you can’t lick it off.
Once the fluoride varnish is in place, it attracts other minerals that strengthen your tooth enamel. When you have the treatment done every six months, you will definitely increase the density of your tooth enamel.
Contact Us for a Dental Checkup and Fluoride Treatment
The dental team at Hamby Family Dental Center is knowledgeable in applying fluoride varnish for patients of all ages, children and adults alike. Contact us today for a teeth cleaning and checkup so we can help you prevent dental issues like cavities. Call us at 919-552-2431 or fill out the form below.