Fluoride is often applied to children’s teeth at their biannual dental visits.
The purpose of the treatment is to help repair and protect teeth by speeding up the process of remineralization and slowing demineralization of the tooth surface (1).
Some have speculated that fluoride treatment at periodic dental visits has led to fluoride poisoning or fluorosis of the teeth.
A popular reason for this speculation is that many people don’t realize that fluorosis develops from continuous exposure to fluoride, most commonly ingestion of fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes, but can also come from fluoride-fortified juices and fluoridated drinking water (2).
Our office uses a fluoride varnish that is considered safer than other types of topical fluoride applications, even if directly ingested. There is no known allergy to fluoride, however there is a minor risk of sensitivity to colophony/rosin which is present in fluoride varnish. The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors reports that several articles have stated that there is no toxic effect related to fluoride varnishes in children and adolescents (1).
The following are direct recommendations from the American Dental Association for the prevention of dental caries or tooth decay (3):
“The panel concluded with moderate certainty that there is a benefit of 2.26% fluoride varnish application at least twice per year for caries prevention in the primary teeth among children aged 6 months to 8 years.”
“The panel concluded with moderate certainty that there is a benefit of 2.26% fluoride varnish application at least twice per year for caries prevention in the permanent teeth among children aged 5 to 15 years.”
- “Fluoride Varnish: An Evidence-Based Approach.”http://www.astdd.org. Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors Fluorides Committee, 1 Sept. 2007. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.
- “Fluorosis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments.” WebMD. WebMD. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.
- “Topical Fluoride for Caries Prevention.” Http://ebd.ada.org. American Dental Association, 1 Nov. 2013. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.