Fluoride Treatments for Kids​

Establishing good oral health habits is important, especially when a child is young. As early as their first dental visit, a dentist may start talking to your child about good oral hygiene and how to keep their teeth healthy. For many children, early dental visits include fluoride treatments. Fluoride treatments can play an important role in helping prevent early tooth decay. Fluoride treatments for children usually involve the application of fluoride varnish directly to the teeth. Here is more information about fluoride treatments for kids and why you should consider them for the children in your family.

What is a Fluoride Varnish Treatment?

As soon as their first tooth is visible, your dentist may start recommending fluoride varnish treatments for your child. Fluoride varnish is a form of fluoride treatment used by dentist to prevent the development of tooth decay. Fluoride is a natural mineral that when applied to the teeth will help add mineral to the tooth’s enamel. Varnish treatments are commonly recommended 2 to 4 times per year for kids. Before deciding how many fluoride treatments your child will need, your child’s dentist will try to assess how likely it is that your child may develop tooth decay or get a cavity. It is important to keep in mind that fluoride varnish treatments do not completely prevent tooth decay and cavities. Developing good oral hygiene habits, including daily brushing, using toothpaste with fluoride, flossing regularly, and visiting the dentist for routine exams are all critically important to preventing tooth decay.

How the fluoride varnish treatment works:

  • The dentist will use a small brush to paint the fluoride varnish on the top and sides of every tooth
  • The varnish will harden in a few minutes
  • Several hours after the varnish is applied, the teeth can be brushed, and the varnish will come off

Are Fluoride Treatments Safe?

Fluoride varnish treatment is a non-invasive and safe treatment for preventive oral care. The varnish only includes a small amount of fluoride. Because the varnish is applied directly to the teeth it is not ingested by children. Even though the teeth look a bit yellowish or dull after the varnish is applied, this discoloration is only temporary. Your child’s teeth will return to their normal appearance after they are brushed.

Care After Fluoride Varnish Treatment

Overall, taking care of the teeth after a fluoride varnish treatment is relatively easy. The dentist should give specific instructions at the appointment before or after the treatment is complete. Commonly, it is okay for children to eat and drink immediately after the varnish treatment. However, the teeth may be sensitive, and your child may not want to eat. To help reduce sensitivity, you could try to give your child soft foods and foods and beverages that are not cold or hot. Additionally, you should not brush or floss your child’s teeth for between 4 to 6 hours after the treatment. In fact, many dentists actually advise for children to hold off on brushing their teeth until the next morning.

Side Effects of Fluoride Treatment