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What Is Fluoride Varnish and What Does It Do?

Fluoride varnish is a type of topical fluoride. This means it’s applied directly to the surfaces of the teeth to help prevent tooth decay. The fluoride varnish is able to penetrate the tooth enamel, hardening and protecting it. Fluoride varnish can help prevent new cavities from forming, and it can slow down any decay that is already present. It can even be used to repair the very first signs of tooth decay. Your child can have this treatment up to four times a year, every three months.

What Is the Procedure for Having Fluoride Varnish Treatment?

The procedure for having fluoride varnish is extremely straightforward and should be easy for your child to cope with. They can eat and drink normally before having this procedure. Your pediatric dentist or hygienist will ensure your child is comfortable and relaxed, and will explain the treatment in terms that are easy to understand.

A quick check is necessary to make sure your child doesn’t have a cold, flu or any other illnesses as otherwise it might be necessary to delay treatment until they are completely well again. The dentist will also examine your child’s teeth for any signs of decay. Fluoride varnish can be very useful if applied to teeth that have early signs of tooth decay as it can help protect them against any further damage, but it’s not applied to teeth that already have cavities as it could be uncomfortable.

Your child’s teeth will be cleaned before being dried with a small piece of gauze. Next, the fluoride varnish is painted onto the teeth. It is important that your child doesn’t eat or drink anything for the first half an hour after the procedure. Make sure they stick to soft foods for the rest of the day, and they won’t need to brush or floss their teeth that night. Their teeth might look a little discolored afterwards, and this is perfectly normal.

You should ensure they brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste the following morning. Their teeth should look beautifully white once the fluoride varnish is brushed away.  If your child currently takes fluoride supplements then ask your dentist when it’s safe for them to continue to do so. It might be that they need to stop taking the supplements for a couple of days after the fluoride has been applied.

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