At First Dental Associates, our Reading, MA dentists and hygienists have lots of tools for keeping your child’s teeth healthy. We’ll help educate your child about the importance of daily brushing and flossing from an early age. But we may also recommend additional treatments to help prevent dental decay and cavities.

Fluoride varnish for your child’s teeth is one such treatment that is quick, simple, and pain-free. The varnish we use even comes in kid-friendly flavors like grape, orange, and bubble gum. We can easily apply it as part of your child’s regular dental exams.

If you have any questions about fluoride varnish or any other aspects of your child’s dental care, please reach out to us by calling 781-438-1312. In the meantime, we answer some questions you may have about the treatment.

What Can Fluoride Varnish Do?

According to the CDC, fluoride varnish can prevent about one-third of decay when applied to baby teeth. It is simply a highly concentrated form of fluoride, the beneficial mineral found in toothpaste and other dental products. When applied to your child’s teeth, fluoride varnish restores protective minerals lost when sugars and acids attack tooth enamel. It can even reverse tooth decay in its earliest stages!

How Do We Apply Fluoride Varnish?

We use a soft brush to apply the sticky varnish to your child’s teeth.The process only takes a few minutes. It dries and hardens very quickly. Most children do not mind the taste. The varnish is safe, even if your child swallows a small amount. Your child can get varnish two to four times a year.

It may make your child’s teeth look yellow or dull. But this appearance will go away when the varnish is brushed off. It’s a good idea to avoid eating and drinking for at least half an hour. You’ll want to leave the varnish on for at least four hours before brushing teeth. It’s OK to wait at least 12 hours.

What Else Should I Know About Fluoride and My Child’s Teeth?

Ask your dentist about using a fluoride toothpaste for children younger than 2. After age 2, use a fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. You only need to use a pea-sized amount. Make sure your child doesn’t swallow large amounts of toothpaste.

Is Fluoride Varnish for Adults a Good Idea?

Fluoride varnish is helpful in preventing cavities in adults too. If you eat a lot of sugary foods or have a history of decay, it’s an especially good idea. We can also use it to help reduce sensitivity in teeth. In addition, we sometimes recommend if you have these conditions:

  • Dry mouth. Because saliva helps prevent cavities, you are more susceptible to decay if you have a shortage of saliva.
  • Receding gums. This condition also leaves you more prone to decay at your gumline, and it makes your teeth sensitive too.
  • Dental restorations. It’s hard to keep teeth clean where you dental bridge, dental crown, or other restoration meets your natural tooth.

Are There Other Treatments for Fighting Cavities?

We can apply dental sealants to the chewing surfaces of back teeth, which are tough to keep clean. According to the CDC, sealants reduce decay in permanent teeth by 81 percent for two years after they’re applied to teeth. Like fluoride varnish, sealants are a simple and pain-free treatment.

To find out more about fluoride varnish for your child’s teeth, dental sealants, or any other preventive treatments, call First Dental Associates at 781-438-1312.