Anyone who’s been to the dentist in the last 30 years knows about fluoride gel and the foam-like tray that is used to hold it in your mouth at the end of a cleaning appointment. In the past this was the most effective way to replace vital minerals into your teeth and reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and strengthen enamel.
The application of fluoride has transformed over the past decade into other types of delivery; namely, the fluoride varnish. Fluoride varnish may not be visually appealing as it has a slight yellow tint and a bit of a sticky texture, but it is much more effective at long-term delivery of the mineral to the surface of your teeth. The varnish is applied over your teeth after a cleaning, and there are no time restrictions as to waiting to eat or drink anything afterward. Just avoid brushing your teeth until at least 6 hours have passed so that maximum absorption is achieved.
Varnish works more effectively because it adheres to your teeth longer, allowing the enamel to absorb the mineral. The fast uptake also means that application is very fast and there is no need to trigger a gag reflex with a foam tray. The varnish is simply brushed onto the teeth with a small applicator. After varnish is applied you may notice a slightly fuzzy feeling to your teeth, and if you look closely you can see some of the lingering residue as it clings to your teeth.
Fluoride varnish is a wonderful option for people who are especially prone to tooth decay, orthodontic patients, and patients with sensitive gag reflexes.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David Kurtzman
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