Fluoride Varnish Treatment
After your child’s first tooth appears, their pediatrician may recommend a fluoride treatment to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is often applied by the pediatrician as well as your pediatric dentist. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an oral health risk assessment for every six-month-old child and routine dental visits beginning in early childhood. One reason for early visits is that application of fluoride has been proven to decrease tooth decay.
Fluoride is a mineral that can help strengthen the enamel or outside surface of teeth. It is found naturally in some water sources and is in most children and adult toothpaste and mouthrinses. It’s safely used to treat children all around the world and can be applied every two to six months to help prevent or slow down tooth decay.
Fluoride treatments are fast and pain-free. The dentist paints a fluoride varnish on the biting surfaces and sides of each tooth. This liquid has a flavor most children enjoy and it quickly hardens. On occasion a child might report that the fluoride varnish is “hot” or “spicy” on their tongues.
While your children may be able to feel the coating of fluoride on their teeth, licking their teeth will not remove it. Teeth will return to their normal appearance after the fluoride is brushed off. On days fluoride is applied we ask you to skip toothbrushing until the following morning. While your child can eat immediately following their treatment, stick to soft foods, avoid crunchy foods and hot foods or drinks.
Although fluoride treatments can help prevent tooth decay, they are not a substitute for daily dental care. Be sure to ask Dr. Criss for guidance on important topics including the correct amount of toothpaste needed, proper brushing techniques, effective flossing methods, healthy eating, and routine dental visits.