Preventative Care & fluoride Varnish
Modern dentistry focuses firmly on prevention to help maintain healthy teeth and gums. This includes avoiding dental problems or stopping them from getting any worse by keeping a close eye on your mouth. This proactive approach can reduce the need for more involved treatment, which can save significant time, discomfort and money.
Regular visits to the dentist and hygienist mean any issues can be spotted early and addressed before they progress. These problems can include:
- Decay and cavities
- Gum disease
- Oral cancer
- Dental erosion
As well as detecting problems with your teeth and gums, the dentist and hygienist can also:
- Scale and polish teeth – even if you brush your teeth every day, this is not enough to prevent the gradual build-up of plaque. A thorough professional clean, at least twice a year, can remove stubborn tartar and plaque deposits.
- Check the health of your gums – this will ensure the early signs of gum disease are spotted early.
- Teach you how to look after your teeth – this includes giving advice on specific dental tools, as well as offering tooth-friendly diet tips.
- Apply fissure sealants – this protective coating prevents bacteria and food particles from settling in the narrow fissures of the back teeth.
In addition to seeing dental professionals regularly, there are some steps you can take to ensure the continued health of your teeth and gums:
- Brush teeth effectively – brush twice a day and clean between teeth with floss or interdental brushes. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride as this can help strengthen teeth. Disclosing tablets can reveal any areas you may have missed when brushing.
- Give up smoking – it can cause a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, which inhibits healing and can increase your risk of developing gum disease. Smoking can also cause an increased amount of plaque and tartar, as well as staining teeth.
- Avoid too many sugary snacks and drinks – these combine with harmful bacteria on the teeth to create enamel attacking acid.
- Start oral education early – encourage children to start looking after their teeth as early as possible.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums can also help protect your general well-being as poor oral hygiene has been linked to other health issues such as heart disease, respiratory disease and osteoporosis.
We can apply fluoride varnish to the surface of the teeth to strengthen enamel and help protect young teeth from decay. This quick, painless treatment is usually given to children over three, as an additional form of protection alongside regular brushing.
Fluoride varnish is a highly concentrated form of fluoride that comes as a yellow, fruity smelling gel. It slows down decay by stopping demineralisation, making the outer layer of the tooth more resistant to attacks from acid. It is not a permanent treatment, but it does stay in contact with the enamel for several hours.
- Can help protect teeth from decay
- Safe, simple treatment
- After cleaning the teeth, we apply the fluoride varnish with a small, soft brush.
- The varnish quickly sets and remains in contact with the teeth until it is brushed off after 4-12 hours.
After the fluoride varnish has been applied, your child will need to stick to soft foods that are not too hot. They also need to refrain from brushing for a few hours so the varnish can stay on their teeth for a while – your dentist will let you know when they can brush their teeth again.
Fluoride varnish should be used in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing to help combat tooth decay. You should also encourage your child to eat a tooth-friendly diet and make sure they see the dentist regularly.