Your dentist may recommend your child perform fluoride therapy at a pediatric dentist’s office to prevent tooth decay. Depending on the oral health status of your child, fluoride therapy can be done 2 to 4 times a year. Healthy gums and teeth can greatly contribute to your child’s general health.
Pediatric dentists and orthodontists are trained in fluoride varnish. Due to the higher sensitivity and vulnerability of children, all dentists cannot perform this treatment successfully. As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, dentists may perform fluoride therapy for children who visit them at early ages.
What does fluoride varnish mean?
Fluoride varnish is a dental treatment that can help prevent or slow down tooth decay. Fluoride is a mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel (outer surface layer of teeth). Keep in mind that fluoride varnish treatment can not completely prevent tooth decay. Fluoride varnish therapy can best prevent tooth decay when children regularly brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste, regularly floss their teeth, and follow a healthy diet, and visit a dentist for oral health examinations at regular intervals.
Is fluoride varnish safe?
Varnish fluoride is a safe dental treatment commonly applied by dentists and doctors around the world to prevent tooth decay in children. It is noteworthy that the dentist should use a small amount of fluoride and the child should not swallow it. The child can brush their teeth when fluoride completely hardens after 4-12 hours.
Some brands of fluoride varnish make teeth appear yellow, whereas some others make the teeth look dull. However, the child’s teeth will look normal after brushing the teeth for the first time after fluoride therapy. It is noteworthy that there is an oral type of fluoride varnish whose taste is not pleasant to most children.
Fluoride varnish is rubbed on the top and sides of each tooth with a small brush. This is a viscous substance that hardens as soon as it comes in contact with saliva. Although your child may feel the hardened varnish with their tongue, but they cannot lick it.
Although varnish therapy is a safe treatment that causes no damage, the child may be crying before and during the treatment. Fortunately, brushing the teeth treated with fluoride varnish only takes a few minutes. It may also be convenient to apply fluoride varnish when the child is crying because their mouth is slightly open. In some cases, the dentist may ask you to hug your child so that the dentist can do a better job.
Post-fluoride therapy care
Your child can eat and drink immediately after fluoride varnish treatment. But it is better to begin with soft, cool, and warm (not hot) foods or liquids. The child should not brush or floss their teeth for at least 4 to 6 hours. The dentist may tell you to wait until the next morning to brush or floss your child’s teeth. Ask your child to flush out the water in their mouth when rinsing. Take into account the following points to ensure the oral health of your child:
- Regularly visit a pediatric dentist
- Get enough fluoride
- Regularly brush and floss your child’s teeth
- Develop and follow proper eating habits
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the infants at risk for premature tooth decay are recommended to visit a dentist for thorough examination and prevention just after the age of 6 months, 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth, or, at most, at the age of 12 months.