In today’s society, the dental profession is seeing an upswing of cavities in children and teens. This is largely due to the popularity of bottled water and use of sports and energy drinks. Bottled water does not typically contain fluoride. Sports and energy drinks both have acidic pH levels which can promote tooth erosion.
Fluoride plays an important role in preventing cavities. It acts to slow demineralization and boost remineralization. Fluoride cannot repair cavities, but it can prevent new ones from forming.
A fluoride varnish can be applied after your dental cleaning to help reduce the occurrence of decay. A thin coating is brushed onto the teeth. The fluoride enters the tooth enamel and makes the tooth hard. It is fast drying and sets upon contact with the saliva. The fluoride varnish temporarily adheres to tooth surfaces. It is designed to be in contact for several hours.
The fluoride takes approximately one minute to apply. Eating and drinking is permitted immediately, however, crunchy or sticky foods and hot beverages are discouraged. It is also recommended to refrain from brushing for at least three to four hours following your treatment. You should not use a fluoride rinse while the varnish is in place. It will naturally wear off in 24 hours even if left unbrushed. Fluoride varnish is safe as only a small amount is used and almost none is swallowed. There are no age restrictions for fluoride varnish. Reapplication can be done every six months.
Fluoride varnish can also be used to relieve dentin hypersensitivity. This sensitivity can be caused, in part, to recession, abrasion, erosion or following root planning. It is applied directly to the root surfaces of the teeth. Fluoride varnish provides