Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources. It helps repair enamel and prevent cavities. Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that helps prevent cavities, plaque, and tartar buildup. Fluoride treatments are usually applied every three to six months during dental checkups.
What Is Fluoride Varnish?
When teeth are prone to decay, the dentist may recommend applying fluoride varnish to their surfaces to protect and strengthen them further. The dentist will first clean the teeth thoroughly before applying the fluoride varnish, which is typically a soft paste that is painted on with a tiny brush.
Sometimes, if the teeth are especially sensitive, the fluoride may be applied in a special tray and worn overnight instead. It’s essential that the varnish not be used if the patient is wearing braces or has crowns in order to avoid staining or damage.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay?
Acidic food and drinks and bacteria buildup can weaken your teeth’s enamel and cause cavities. Enamel is the hard, outer layer of teeth that helps protect the inner layers of the tooth from decay and infection. If left untreated, bacteria can reach the inner layer of the tooth and cause damage.
While fluoride helps prevent tooth decay, it does not replace the need for good oral hygiene. You should continue to brush twice a day for two minutes each time using fluoride-rich toothpaste. You should also floss daily and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash.
You should also limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks and increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat. These foods are not only nutritious but can help increase saliva production and prevent dry mouth. Saliva contains minerals that help restore tooth enamel and protect your teeth from cavities. A dry mouth can cause harm to the protective layer of your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
How Does Fluoride Help Prevent Tooth Decay?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent cavities. Many kinds of toothpaste, mouthwashes, and water contain fluoride. In-office treatments such as varnishes and sealants also apply fluoride directly to the teeth.
Fluoride is absorbed into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, where it gradually makes the entire tooth more resistant to decay-causing bacteria. Professional in-office treatments are more effective than at-home products because they allow the dentist to apply higher concentrations of fluoride than brushing or rinsing can provide.
During a routine cleaning, our dentist will apply a thin layer of fluoride varnish to your teeth to help strengthen them and prevent cavities and tooth decay. This treatment only takes a few minutes to complete, and it’s safe for all kids and adults. It can even be applied to young children who are too young to have their teeth cleaned at the dentist’s office.
For more information, contact our Alexandria dental office at (703) 823-2848 or 5130 Duke St, Suite 8, Alexandria, VA 22304, or our Manassas dental office at (703) 479-7654 or 8608 Centreville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110.