Fluoride Varnish Dental Treatments
Fluoride varnish dental treatments are safe and effective cavity prevention for children
As part of our comprehensive health care coverage, Forest Lane Pediatrics is happy to offer Fluoride Varnish Dental Treatments every 6 months for children ages 1 – 3 years old. Fluoride Varnish is a topical fluoride treatment that is applied directly to the teeth and has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cavities in children. This type of treatment is often done in a dentist’s office; however, we realize that the cost of a dental visit plus the need to take additional time off of work can create barriers to adequate dental care. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children see a dentist starting at 1 year of age or within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth. We are happy to provide all of our patients with a list of excellent pediatric dentists close to our offices; however, if you are not able to regularly take your child to the dentist, we are happy to provide Fluoride Varnish Dental Treatments at all well visits between 1 and 3 years of age. By 3 years of age, all children should have bi-annual visits with a dentist.
What causes cavities in children?
Fluoride is an essential tool to fight Early Childhood Carries (ECC), an infectious, chronic disease that destroys tooth structure leading to loss of chewing function, pain, and infection in children up to 5 years old. Carries (cavities) are caused by acid that is created when bacteria in the mouth digest sugars in the foods and drinks that we consume. This acid demineralizes the protective coating of our teeth called enamel. This demineralization eventually weakens and erodes the enamel creating a cavity. Fluoride prevents cavities by inhibiting tooth demineralization, enhancing remineralization, and inhibiting bacterial metabolism. The primary sources of fluoride are fluorinated drinking water, fluoride toothpastes (not recommended for children < 2 years old), and fluoride varnish. For many children, fluoridated water and fluoride toothpastes provide sufficient protection against cavities. However, for others, the addition of fluoride varnish is necessary. The benefit of fluoride varnish is that it is applied directly to the teeth in a concentrated manner. Because it adheres to the teeth quickly, there is no risk of ingesting the fluoride. Should a child ingest too much fluoride by swallowing fluoride toothpaste or taking an excessive amount of fluoride supplements, discoloration of the teeth called Fluorosis can occur.
Other benefits of fluoride varnish include:
- It’s safe and effective
- It can be quickly and easily applied
- Children can eat and drink shortly after application
- It strengthens enamel
- Studies show a 30-35% reduction in cavities
- It can reverse early cavity formation
Children who will benefit the most from Fluoride Varnish are:
- Children with siblings who had cavities before age 6
- Children born prematurely
- Children with special health care needs
- Children who use a bottle after 15 months or have sweet or starchy snacks more than 3 times per day
- Children who don’t have regular dental visits
Currently, Fluoride Varnish Dental Treatments are only offered in the Dallas office.
For more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about caring for your child’s teeth, click here.