When you think about the dental office and the application of fluoride, most people believe it is something just for adolescents. Usually, the styrofoam trays are the first things that come to mind; along with memories of sitting in the dental chair for about 5 minutes, wanting nothing more than to remove the trays and RUN! And don’t get us started on the restrictions with eating and drinking afterward. Well, Dolan Dental has good news, about the new-age fluoride varnish, designed for EVERYONE!
Fluoride found in water, infant formula, and tea, is a natural mineral that helps build strong teeth and prevent cavities. That is why fluoride is, and has always been, a beneficial tool touted by dental professionals to promote strong and healthy teeth. Fluoride has been used for decades because of its support of healthy gums and its ability to fight harmful bacteria from wreaking havoc on our enamel.
Your hygienist’s recommendation for fluoride varnish, is based on your risk for tooth decay, called caries risk level. A caries risk assessment is completed in the office by evaluating diet, oral habits, and recent dental needs. If you are at a higher risk for cavities, it is crucial that fluoride application is recommended in multiple forms. Some examples of risk factors that would be an indication for fluoride varnish are, experiencing dry mouth, high consumption of sugary food/drinks, weak enamel, poor oral hygiene, and high consumption of acidic food/drinks.
Fluoride benefits both children and adults. The earlier children are exposed to fluoride, the less likely they are to develop cavities, while the consistent fluoride exposure for adults helps strengthen enamel and remineralize areas of weakened enamel over the years. The new age fluoride varnish is brushed onto the teeth and gums using a small brush with no down-time. Feel free to eat and drink after a fluoride application with limited restrictions including avoiding alcohol or hot beverages for at least 30-45 mins and hold off on brushing until 4 hours later.
With all that being said, if you were unsure about asking your hygienist about fluoride varnish due to triggering memories in your childhood, then have no fear! The days of the styrofoam are gone while all the benefits of fluoride application remain! Protect your teeth and ask for fluoride varnish at your next hygiene appointment!