Prevent dental decay with fluoride varnish
Our mouth contains bacteria that feeds on the sugars in the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. This produces acid that can wear away the hard, outer shell of your tooth (enamel). This can lead to cavities. Fluoride protects teeth by making your teeth stronger and more resistant to acid, not only reducing the risk of cavities but even helping to reverse the early signs of decay.
Unfortunately some children are more susceptible to cavities than others - genetics and salivary flow (how much saliva your child’s mouth is producing in a day) play a big role in this. In cases where, despite all parents’ and carers’ efforts, a child still has decay, fluoride varnish is applied by the dental care professional directly to the tooth surface to prevent cavities.
What is fluoride varnish?
This is a simple solution that can slow and prevent tooth decay in children, and Happy Kids Dental is your destination for effective, monitored fluoride treatment in London.
How does fluoride varnish prevent cavities?
Fluoride varnish leads to heavy remineralisation of the enamel surface, and subsequent acid attacks will allow fluoride ions to penetrate more deeply into the tooth structure. Varnishes like Duraphat® are useful because they stay on the tooth surface for some hours, allowing slow release of the fluoride ion.
Who should be having a fluoride varnish?
- Children with a history of frequent cavities. If your child has one cavity every year or every other year, you might discuss with a paediatric dentist the need for a fluoride varnish.
- Children with crowns. This treatment can put teeth at risk of decay at the point where the crown meets the underlying tooth structure.
- Children with orthodontic appliances or braces. This treatment can put teeth at risk around the brackets of orthodontic appliances.
Fluoride varnish at Happy Kids Dental
At Happy Kids Dental, our paediatric team will recommend the right amount of fluoride for your child, as well as scheduling a regular fluoride varnish.
Fluoride varnish is a quick and simple procedure, which involves a gel being painted onto your child’s teeth using a soft brush. The gel has a fruity taste which temporarily colours the teeth for up to 3 days, before it gradually wears off.
We recommend fluoride varnish applications twice a year for all children above two years of age.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that protects teeth by making them stronger and more resistant to acid, which in turn reduces the risk of cavities.
Fluoride is added to tap water in many countries, such as USA, Canada and some parts of the UK, and also occurs naturally in several types of foods. A fluoride concentration of 0.7 to 1.2 ppm (parts per million) is considered to be most beneficial for your body and teeth.
Fluoride is found naturally in fresh water although the concentration varies, which is why the amount added isn’t consistent between geographical areas. Studies have shown that having fluoride in public water systems has prevented tooth decay in children and adults by at least 25 percent.
The first substantive community water fluoridation scheme in England was introduced in Birmingham in 1964. This was quickly followed in the same decade by schemes in a number of other local authorities - some urban, some rural.
Five-year-olds in fluoridated areas are 28% less likely to have tooth decay than those in non-fluoridated areas. In fluoridated areas there are 55% fewer hospital admissions of young children for tooth extractions.
This information can be found on the Public Health England website, at www.gov.uk.
Please Note: The London area does not benefit from a fluoridation scheme, therefore using toothpaste that contains fluoride is highly advised by the British Dental Association.
Children below the age of three should use toothpastes with a fluoride level of 1000ppm, whereas children older than three can use toothpaste containing 1350 ppm to 1500 ppm of fluoride.
The best available scientific evidence shows no association between the recommended amount of fluoride used to prevent tooth decay and any harmful effects. The fluoride at optimal levels in toothpaste and community water sources is safe and effective.
However, excessive levels of fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis. Fluorosis results in the appearance of white chalky spots on the tooth surface because of hypomineralisation (less mineralised).
Despite strong evidence supporting the benefits of fluoride for oral health, some parents are choosing options that are marketed as being effective despite not containing fluoride. There is a misconception about the safety of fluoride, and this may be a factor in people choosing fluoride-free products.
Some believe that fluoride is not a natural ingredient and think it is poisonous. However, the very opposite is true - it is nature’s cavity fighter. While fluoride-free toothpastes are marketed as being a safer and more effective way to keep your teeth healthy, in reality no other ingredient comes close to the benefits of fluoride.
Seventy years of research has proven that fluoride prevents cavities and, at the moment, there is no other toothpaste ingredient with this kind of track record. For this reason, dentists have been recommending fluoride toothpaste to their patients for decades.
Nevertheless, at Happy Kids Dental we respect our patients’ beliefs and convictions - so if, as a parent or carer, you would rather we don’t give fluoride to your child, we will always respect your choices and decisions about their health.
Due to its success in preventing cavities, fluoride in water was named a top public health achievement of the 20th century - along with vaccination for the control of infectious diseases and the recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard.