The argument in favor of fluoride

Last Modified: 8/30/2019

Among many pediatric services the Ronald McDonald House Care Mobile offers – including immunizations, wellness visits and screenings – fluoride treatments are one of the simplest offerings, with a host of benefits. Kara Yackee, NP, who works on the Care Mobile, explains the short- and long-term wellness gains of taking advantage of this preventative treatment for your child.  

The benefits

Among other advantages, fluoride treatments:  

  • Help to prevent dental caries, an infectious disease in which acid produced by bacteria dissolves tooth enable. If caries is not prevented it can continue through the tooth, leading to dental pain, tooth loss, local infections and systemic infections.
  • Promotes good oral health, which leads to good overall health.
  • Are safe, inexpensive and effective.
  • Strengthen enamel and prevent progression of early caries (white spots).
  • Prevent almost 40 percent of cavities in primary teeth.

Early detection is important. The younger the child is when tooth decay begins, the greater the risk for future decay. Fluoride is well tolerated by infants and children and has prolonged therapeutic effects.

How it works

Essentially, fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel of the teeth to prevent further progression of dental caries, slows enamel destruction, promotes enamel remineralization and inhibits bacterial metabolism and acid production.

Fluoride can be applied by a dental professional at the dentist’s office or a non-dental health professional during an oral screening at their well child visit. These professionals might include physicians, advanced practice providers, RNs or LPNs with appropriate training. It should be applied every 3-6 months, based on risk assessment tool.

The application process is simple: The teeth are dried with a gauze square and the varnish is painted onto all surfaces of the teeth with a brush provided in the varnish set.

After application, children are advised to:

  • Avoid brushing or flossing their teeth for at least six hours after treatment.
  • Eat only soft food for at least 2 hours after treatment.
  • Avoid consuming hot drinks or alcohol (mouth rinses) for at least 6 hours after treatment.
  • Wait until the next day to resume normal oral hygiene (brushing).
The risks

There have been no treatment-related adverse events reported in young children. There is a mild risk of fluorosis (a change in the appearance of tooth enamel in young children that presents in small white striations or discoloration), but systemic exposure to fluoride is low after the varnish application.

For more information about the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile

To find out when the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile will be in your area, view our entire list of scheduled events. Walk-in or schedule an appointment by calling 1-877-PPG-TODAY (774-8632). You can even request the Care Mobile at a specific location near you!


More information on fluoride:

Indiana Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics

U.S. Preventative Services Task Force

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