One of the last steps a dentist completes during a checkup is a fluoride treatment. A fluoride treatment is something you can opt-out of if you want, but it is helpful for your teeth. Fluoride strengthens the enamel present on your teeth, resulting in stronger teeth that are more resistant to decay. If your dentist recommends a fluoride treatment, they may apply it with foam or varnish. While similar, these products work very differently, and here are several things to know about the differences.
How Fluoride Works
Before you can learn the differences between varnish and foam fluoride, it might help you to know how fluoride works. Fluoride is a natural mineral found in the earth. But you might find it in water, toothpaste, and mouth rinse products.
Exposing your teeth to fluoride helps strengthen your teeth, and it is the only ingredient that has this ability. Fluoride targets the enamel on your teeth and strengthens it.
The enamel is what protects your teeth, but it tends to degrade as you get older. Without enamel, your teeth have no protection. As a result, dentists recommend fluoride treatments to ensure that your enamel is as strong as possible.
The Application Process
The first difference between varnish fluoride and foam fluoride is the application process. The way your dentist applies the products to your teeth varies. With a foam treatment, your dentist sprays fluoride foam into a mouth tray. They then place this tray in your mouth for a couple of minutes. Afterward, they suck all the foam out of your mouth, but they do not rinse it.
Varnish fluoride is something your dentist paints on your teeth in the same way a person might paint their fingernails. After painting it on, you must let it dry for a couple of minutes.
You should avoid eating or drinking after having a fluoride treatment for at least an hour or so. The fluoride will continue mineralizing your teeth during this time.
Both treatment options offer an effective way to expose your teeth to fluoride. Some dentists feel that varnish fluoride is more effective, though, as a dentist can manually apply it to the areas that need it the most.
Choosing fluoride treatments at your dental examinations is another way you can protect your teeth. If you would like more information about fluoride treatment options, talk to a local dentist or dental expert today.