What You Need to Know About Fluoride Varnish & Prophy Paste

We all have different reasons to visit the dentist’s clinic. Some might find themselves scheduling an appointment for their child’s annual fluoride varnish treatment.  Others go in for tooth extraction and other special dental procedures. There is widespread use of fluoride in the field of dentistry and oral health care, with methods of delivery ranging in various forms such as in gel form, mouth rinse, or as a toothpaste component. A lot of advancements relating to fluoride therapy continue to be practiced, monitored for efficiency, and tracked down. One such method that has gained popularity is the use of fluoride varnish.

children dental care

If you are considering a fluoride varnish application on your next dental visit, here are some things you might be interested to know about it:

  • It is applied topically. Seeing its beneficial impact on dental health quality, fluoride varnishes have been developed as an alternative form of introducing fluoride orally. These widely-used varnishes contain fluoride in high and concentrated amounts. However, they are not meant to be ingested but are supposed to be properly applied directly on your teeth by your dentist, a dental hygienist, or a trained healthcare professional. Using a small brush, professionally-trained health care providers can apply the fluoride varnish on each tooth (both top and sides) to coat the entire surface area.
  • It is quick and painless. Unlike other methods of fluoride therapy that may activate your gag-reflex (i.e. use of fluoride gels and foams placed in trays), fluoride varnishes are relatively easier to administer. Because it quickly hardens, despite the presence of saliva, applying a fluoride varnish only takes a few minutes. Also, you don’t need to worry about taking in too much fluoride content as its stickiness, rapid setting, and fast adherence to your teeth ensure that you have minimal risk of ingesting it.
  • It can be reapplied. The yellowish coating of a fluoride varnish on your teeth is a non-permanent form of fluoride therapy and does not last for a long time. Dentists usually recommend that you delay eating or drinking fluids for a few hours after the treatment, to keep the fluoride coating in place. Although it is adherent enough to stay in your teeth for several hours (thus able to deliver maximum potency), simply brushing your teeth the next day can restore them to their pearly white state. It is also because of its temporary nature that fluoride varnishes can be re-applied in certain prescribed frequencies. This re-application is intended to promote better oral health and to help prevent further damages caused by potential dental health issues.
  • It is recognized by the FDA. Fluoride varnishes (in the form of 5% sodium fluoride varnish) have passed the criteria set by the FDA. This recognition gives you the reassurance that the studies conducted in relevance to the use of fluoride varnishes are regarded as beneficial and in compliance with the standards of this reputable government agency.
  • It can be used on children. Children, especially those between the ages 1-5, are more prone to dental caries. Through fluoride varnishes applied by pediatric dentists, early childhood dental problems (such as the crowns of the teeth being destroyed by dental cavities) can be prevented. The method of applying fluoride in varnish form is generally well-tolerated by children, making it a preferred method of managing dental concerns and developing proper dental hygiene among children. Some dental clinics even offer fluoride varnishes that come in various flavors, making the process less stressful and more appealing to younger kids.
  • It can be used to treat dentine sensitivity. If you have exposed dentin surfaces, fluoride varnishes can be used as an effective remedy in managing the hypersensitivity of your teeth. Having fluoride varnish brushed on your teeth surfaces can also help you in relieving the sharp and intensive pain associated with this condition.
  • It may prevent tooth decay. Dentists have always advocated proper use of fluoride as an effective means of preventing tooth decay. This is because the presence of fluoride has a cariostatic effect on your teeth. While you may be accustomed to fluoride in your daily brushing regimen, such as in your toothpaste, studies have shown that a more effective approach can be used. The topically-applied form of fluoride varnish, the fluoride has been regarded to be more potent, and therefore more effective, in protecting your teeth’s enamel from being degraded and demineralized.

Establishing and maintaining proper dental hygiene is vital to your overall health. Apart from regularly brushing your teeth, flossing, and staying away from too much sugar intake, other options are available to ensure better oral health.

A fluoride varnish is a quick and easy to fluoride therapy method, which can prove to be beneficial to your dental health. Aside from addressing teeth hypersensitivity, a coating of fluoride varnish can also help prevent dental caries from further destroying the enamel that protects your teeth. Because it quickly hardens and does not have a bitter aftertaste, it is generally regarded as safe and reliable, even for use on children. With proper dosage and professional administration, getting a fluoride varnish from your health care provider is one of the best steps you can take to ensure improved and maintained dental health.

As for those who simply visit the dentist for routine dental cleaning and check-up, who come in for a scheduled session and have their teeth cleaned and restored to their natural gleaming states, dentists and dental hygienists make use of several instruments and products, depending on the patient’s needs. We’re going to explain a little bit about some of these products, specifically Prophy paste.

Prophy Pastes: What is it?

Prophy pastes or prophylaxis pastes are among the dental products used by dentists, dental hygienists, and other health care professionals, to help care for their patients’ teeth. These pastes are used to keep the teeth free of plaque and bacterial buildup due to coffee stains, tobacco smoking, and other causes. Because of the coarse particles, prophy pastes are used mainly for removing soft deposits of stains and plaque on the teeth’s surface. Prophy pastes literally help the dentist scrub off the dirt and stain from your teeth, aiding in prophylactic cleaning and tooth polishing.

Prophy Pastes: Should you use it?

If you are suffering from slight dental discoloration, feel tartar and thick plaque build-up, or you need some help managing and removing tough stains on your teeth, then the use of prophy paste is right for you. These products now come in different flavors and splatter-free forms, leaving no taste nor residue in your mouth. The result is a smoother tooth surface and shinier and better smile.

As with any other product and treatment, however, make sure to use prophy pastes under professional advice and supervision. Consult with your dentist or dental hygienist first, to know if you really need this treatment and to determine which type and form of prophy paste will better address your dental needs.

Author Bio:

Rana Tarakji Originally from the U.S., Rana Tarakji is a digital marketer and the founder of the Stylerail blog, and a web content specialist who now lives and works in Lebanon. Rana’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including Life Hacker, Upwork, Christian Today, Newswire, and many other outlets.




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