Fluoride varnish can be applied by dental teams at your family dental practice and at some nurseries and schools.
Fluoride varnish is a golden gel that is applied to a dried tooth surface. It has a pleasant taste and a fruity smell. It helps to prevent tooth decay by strengthening the teeth, and has shown to be most effective if applied to the teeth at least twice a year.
The varnish hardens on the tooth just after being applied, so the fluoride can be in contact with the outer surface of the teeth for a long period of time. The golden colour can take a few days to fade.
How is the fluoride varnish put onto the tooth?
The process is quick and easy.
In nurseries and schools, the varnish will either be applied within a visiting dental mobile unit or the dental team can bring their special portable equipment into a quiet, private area of school.
Only specially trained dental staff can apply the fluoride varnish. They have strict rules of hygiene and infection control. A clean pair of clinical gloves is worn and a new fluoride application pack is used for each child. The child’s teeth are gently wiped with a cotton wool roll and the correct amount of fluoride varnish is applied using a small disposable soft brush.
Please Note: If your child normally takes fluoride drops or tablets, they should not have fluoride varnish applied.
Try not to let your child eat hard foods such as apples, carrots or crisps today to avoid the varnish being scraped off the tooth surfaces.
We will arrange to paint your child’s teeth with the fluoride varnish again, at school, in about 6 months time.
If your child has problems or an allergic reaction after today’s application, please inform the school or Designed to Smile team.
Your child has not had a detailed examination. It is important that your child attends a dental practice regularly for check ups and let your own dentist know that your child has had fluoride varnish applied at school.
Is fluoride varnish safe?
Yes when applied at the correct dose, fluoride varnish is safe.
Children can have fluoride varnish applied up to four times per year. Children taking part in Designed to Smile may have fluoride varnish applied twice a year in school or nursery. If your child has had fluoride varnish applied in school, it is a good idea to tell your dentist so that they can space out other applications to increase the benefit.
Children who swallow too much fluoride can develop white spots on their teeth. That’s why it is important not to let your child eat toothpaste. Fluoride varnish is applied at school only twice a year therefore the risk of developing white spots as a result is tiny.
If your child normally takes fluoride drops or tablets, they should not receive fluoride varnish applications at nursery or school.
Can all children have fluoride varnish applied?
Every child joining the programme must have written consent given by their parent or guardian.
The consent form asks questions about past medical history and we particularly want to know if your child has ever had to be hospitalised following a severe asthma attack or has an allergy to colophony or sticking plaster.
It may not be appropriate for some children to have the varnish applied. We will keep you informed before visiting school if this is the case.
If a child has a sore mouth or broken skin around the mouth or an infectious illness on the day of the dental team’s visit, then fluoride varnish will not be applied. We would let you know about this in writing.