Yes. Fluoride varnish prevents cavities. A study shows that kids between the ages of 6 and 4 years of age who get at least one fluoride varnish treatment once a year cuts cavity rates by half. And this is an incredible feat really!
In order to understand how fluoride varnish works and why you should actually take your kid for the treatment, we need to dig deeper. So why not take a ride with me through a few vital concepts of fluoride varnish treatment?
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral substance that you will easily find in almost all water sources. It is a substance that not only reduces the tooth cavities in kids and adults, but that will also help to repair the very early stages of any tooth decay.
That’s why the normal toothpaste that we use at home to brush our teeth is also manufactured with fluoride as its most active ingredient. No matter your age, fluoride will fight cavities even before they are visible and leave you with strong teeth.
How Does Fluoride Strengthen My Teeth?
When fluoride gets into touch with the enamel of your tooth and sits on it triggers an enamel hardening process. In doing this, fluoride will replenish the lost calcium and phosphorous and in turn keep your teeth healthy and hard; a process called remineralization.
How Does Fluoride Stop My Tooth Decay?
It is important to note that remineralization is the opposite of demineralization which is the very first stage in the process of tooth decay and cavities where the loss of the main tooth mineral forming the enamel occurs before reaching the dentin.
Like demineralization, the remineralization is also not immediate. It is a process that will take some time to achieve.
With that in mind, this is what you should know: if fluoride is actually present during the remineralization process, the minerals that are deposited into the enamel of your tooth will help to strengthen your tooth over time.
It will then prevent dissolution when demineralization occurs and in doing so prevent the decaying process from taking shape.
Even at extremely low levels, the fluoride that is found in the plaque and also saliva is usually able to alter balance between the demineralization and remineralization process to favor the main remineralization process.
As remineralization takes shape with fluoride present, the newer mineral crystals come out as stronger and less vulnerable to attack by the harmful acids that cause decay.
Even better, if fluoride is actually present in your saliva, it leads to a higher concentration of fluoride ions in the plaque such that when the number one decay trigger (sugar) comes into contact with the plaque its level of harmfulness is reduced by the presence of fluoride.
How Fluoride Varnish Works
The varnish has high fluoride content in it. The varnish is painted using a soft brush to the children’s teeth to fight tooth decay.
This process is overly successful with kids because the varnish quickly settles and comes in a pleasant taste.
Upon setting on the teeth, it releases fluoride and therefore stops the demineralization process. In doing this, the varnish makes the tooth enamel much more resistant to attack by harmful acids that cause decay that comes from the plaque bacteria.
This, in turn, speeds up remineralization that allows the fluoride ions to make the tooth surface much stronger and quite less soluble so that it stops bacterial metabolism and instead produce less acid that leaves the teeth as strong as they are.
How Effective is Fluoride Varnish?
Although fluoride varnish can be applied in all ages of children and adults, the application on permanent teeth gives the best result. The quality of evidence in preventing caries of permanent teeth is very high. There are also evidences that fluoride varnish prevents caries in primary teeth of high-risk children. However, the treatment is most effective when applied before the onset of detectable tooth decay. A two-year community trial of fluoride varnish to fight tooth decay in early childhood demonstrate 18% to 25% caries reduction. Another Brazilian study on 7 to 14-year old children demonstrate 41% caries reduction in permanent teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions on Fluoride Varnish
In this section we addressed some of the most common concerns about fluoride varnish:
How Effective is Fluoride Varnish Against Tooth Decay?
Fluoride varnish has high levels of fluoride; the mineral that hardens the tooth’s enamel. This is very important in castigating the effects of sugar in the mouth. The higher fluoride content in the varnish will do a better job at minimizing the effects of harmful acids that eat the enamel.
How Long Will Fluoride Varnish Last after Application?
The effect of fluoride varnish will last for long. That’s why its recommended for application at least two to three times a year. Once applied, the varnish will provide all-around protection against decay.
Why Use Fluoride Varnish on Kids?
Most of the dental sealants and also many other topical fluorides and mouthwashes are harder to use with the younger children since they aren’t tasty. However, the varnish has a sweet tasting touch that makes kids love it.
Is Fluoride Varnish Easy to Apply?
Apart from being inexpensive fluoride varnish treatment is quite easy to carry out. A dentist or dental hygienist will only need to use the packaged in soft brush applicator to apply the varnish and let it sit for a while before the kid gets back to their normal routine. Telling the kid, a dental story makes this waiting time fly really fast.
Is Fluoride Varnish Safe to Use?
Yes, you and your children can take fluoride varnish treatment irrespective of your age and sex. Fluoride varnish is safe to use from when your baby develops his or her first teeth. Fluoride varnish treatment has been using in Europe for more than 25 years now. Also, the FDA has approved it due to its efficacy in fighting caries.
So, fluoride varnish is inexpensive, easy to apply, less traumatizing, and more importantly, comes with fewer restrictions too. So, if you have a kid back at home, don’t hesitate. Let them have that fluoride varnish at least once or twice a year. That’s just great. Yet if you could do it thrice a year, that’s awesome and you will have kept any possibilities of tooth decay by close to 99.9% chance. Give your child wonderful smile with wonderful dental products like prophy paste, etc.