Healthy oral hygiene should begin as soon as children grow their first tooth. Even children under the age of one can develop cavities or other oral complications. A commonly used substance to prevent children from developing cavities is fluoride varnish. Understanding the use of fluoride varnish and why it’s recommended for children under the age of six will help parents keep their children’s oral health intact.
Fluoride varnish is a treatment used to prevent, slow down, or stop tooth decay. The most active ingredient within fluoride varnish is fluoride, which is a mineral used to strengthen tooth enamel. The treatment should be done at least twice yearly for children under the age of six. Pediatricians usually perform the treatment since toddlers don’t often visit dentists.
Pediatricians use a small brush to paint fluoride varnish all around the teeth. The substance starts off sticky but eventually hardens as soon as it mixes with saliva. Even if the hardened varnish reaches the tongue, children are unable to swallow the substance.
The treatment process is not painful, even though some children may still cry throughout the procedure. Applying the varnish onto the teeth only takes pediatricians a few minutes, so children won’t feel discomfort for too long.
The varnish may make the teeth appear more yellow until it is brushed off, which shouldn’t be for at least four to twelve hours.
After the treatment, children are able to eat and drink right away. The temperature of the food and/or drinks should be warm or cold, not hot. The food should also be soft, not too hard or crunchy. Parents should refrain from brushing or flossing their child’s tooth for at least four to six hours. Depending on each child’s condition, pediatricians may advise parents to refrain from brushing or flossing their child’s tooth until the next day.
Pediatricians advise parents to get their child’s first oral examination by six months old, especially if they’re already at risk of developing cavities. For children who don’t get their checkups at six months old, pediatricians advise parents to take their child no later than six months after their first birthday.
Fluoride varnish treatments only benefit children if parents also make sure they’re brushing and flossing daily. If not, there’s no guarantee that the treatment will prevent cavities.
At McBride Dental, we provide numerous services that tailor to the various needs of our patients. We offer preventative care services to help our patients avoid cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. For patients who already suffer from those issues, we offer fillings, gum disease treatments, dentures, and implants. We even offer teeth whitening and other cosmetic services to help our patients enhance the beauty of their smiles. If you are in the San Diego area and are interested in scheduling an appointment with us, contact our office today at (760) 471-1003. We are eager to help you maintain the smile you desire.