View Full Version : Fluoride varnish for tooth decay
09-30-2003, 12:21 PM
Does anyone out there know anything or have any opinions about fluoride varnish for tooth decay...my daughter is 16 months, and she has a small spot on her front, outer, top tooth. We have a dental appt. on Monday and I know the dentist will want to put a "fluoride varnish" on her teeth, because we don't have fluoride in our water (for which I was glad and we filter anyway). This treatment is supposed to help prevent and even reverse tooth decay and the reception said "none" is ingested? I know nothing about this, I had never heard of it and I need to decide if we want to do this to Elle.
09-30-2003, 12:59 PM
We avoid flouride too, but I haven't researched what you're talking about.
I would pop over to the Mothering.com forums and ask there. The women over there are an amazing bastion of info! I'm sure someone there could help you. Or do a search and see if the topic has already been addressed.
And be sure to let us know what you found out!
The fact that you seem to be having tooth problems contradicts how you feel about fluoride supplementation. I think you need to do some serious research on tooth decay and dental care for small children. (edited to add: Please don't take that as an admonition or flame. It wasn't intended as such.)
Fluoride is found naturally in the water in many communities. It is through this natural presence that its value in decay prevention was discovered. When fluoride is used as a supplement in water, or in vitamins, it is a much more minute quantity than ever found in nature.
Dental decay is caused by a bacteria. Children do not have this bacteria in their mouths normally. They become infected through contamination in the household, by kissing, by sharing eating utensils, by their natural exploration where they place EVERYTHING in their mouths. Once the bacteria has been introduced into their mouths, it can never be destroyed. The only thing you can do is to practice constant oral hygiene, by brushing the teeth and gums after every feeding, both solid and milk and juice. So if you are having numerous feedings in the night, you would need to perform oral hygiene after each feeding to remove the environment where the bacteria flourish.
Fluoride supplementation or external application to the tooth surfaces strengthens the enamel so the bacteria byproducts (which are acidic) have a harder time penetrating the enamel.
Some women, when they first become pregnant, take prenatal vitamins which contain fluoride. When I became pregnant with my daughter, I drank bottled water supplemented with fluoride. She never got cavities until she reached her teens.
When I became pregnant with my son, we lived in Germany, in off-post housing. On-post housing had their water fluoridated. I requested fluoride supplements from the clinic, and was told they were not provided until after the sixth month of pregnancy. My son was five weeks early, and as a result, he didn't get any fluoride in utero. We transferred from Germany back to the states when he was a toddler, so his supplementation was spotty.
As a result, by the time he was two, he had his first cavity. Believe me, even with a pediatric dentist (which I had to pay for out-of-pocket and then be reimbursed by my dental insurance...and I also had to eat the difference between what the insurance paid and what the actual dental visit cost!), getting a filling for a small child is traumatic. I requested, again and again, to have his baby teeth SEALED. The dentists all told me that baby teeth are never sealed, that is saved for the permanent teeth.
Well, because of the lack of sufficient fluoride, AND because of the refusal to have his baby teeth sealed, my son not only had several more fillings in his baby teeth, he had to have a baby tooth PULLED.
If I had known when I was pregnant all the distress my son would end up enduring because of the lack of fluoride supplementation, I would have pitched a fit in the military hospital clinic! In my way of thinking, fluoridization would have prevented my child from suffering pain. Period.
10-02-2003, 02:39 PM
Just for a counter point - I did drink floridated water while pg with both of my girls & the older one has multiple fillings on her molars. She has had a ton of problems with her teeth. The younger one has not a single cavity.
Floride works topically, not systemically. (i.e.- floride works when rubbed on teeth, but not when ingested.) It may be possible for floridated water, etc to provide some protection as it washes over teeth, but it does not provide protection once it is in your body.
However, the question at hand is topical floride application, & I do believe that there is research showing this to be effective at reducing decay if it is not swallowed. Floride in large quantities can mottle teeth, replace calcium in bones, etc. However, it takes a lot of floride to create these kinds of problems!
10-02-2003, 03:48 PM
Thanks for the replies!!! Mothering.com, has lots of info on dental care some suggestions are very helpful (still reading, whew! Big site, I had never been). For instance I located some pointers on flossing Elle's teeth, she has a couple that touch...I don't know why it didn't occur to me, as my husband and I are both good at flossing, and yea, Elle doesn't seem to mind the floss.
VOW-you seemed to have your mind made up on the cause of your son's tooth decay, however, I want to ask you this anyway. Someone brought up a very interesting point on another post; I noticed you said your son was "early", do you think that may have contributed to him having "weaker" teeth. I know I had to have a surgery when I was pregnant and I had bronchitis also. When I read this post it seemed to explain a lot, because, other than our aversion to fluoride we practice good oral hygiene regularly and Elle doesn't eat sugar. The post I mentioned is under my night nursing/cup training need help thread. Since then I have read multiple opinions of dentist and such who don't believe night nursing contributes, especially since breastmilk contains fluoride. I feel Elleís potential decay, probably more due to my prenatal health problems.
I still feel cautious about fluoride, I haven't read any swaying information that makes me want to run out and do this and I havenít located the potential side effects either (on the varnish specifically).
Thanks again everyone! Jenna
Fluoride does not work systemically AFTER the enamel has been formed. However, if there is fluoride present in the mother's diet during pregnancy, when the primary teeth are developed, or fluoride present in the toddler's diet when the permanent teeth are developed, it will strengthen the enamel.
My son's prematurity could have had some effect on his tooth problems, however, I feel it was his sporadic exposure to fluoride which definitely contributed to the situation. And the entire mess was exacerbated by the blankety-blank dentists who refused to seal his baby teeth!
Ask your dentist if your daughter's teeth can be sealed WITHOUT fluoride!
10-05-2003, 01:35 AM
My son had a small spot on his tooth that needed sealing, and the dentist did it with a non-fluoride veneer, so maybe ask about alternatives, Good luck!
10-05-2003, 08:58 AM
Hi Sophie, thanks for the reply, did the seal seem to do the trick/work?
10-05-2003, 01:57 PM
he only got it done a few months ago but so far it looks good. He is nearly 7 so his baby teeth are all falling out now. I think the reason why he got the decay spot is because we let him take a bottle of soymilk to bed when he was little (don't know WHAT we were thinking). I'll try and remember what the stuff is called that they used.
12-04-2003, 06:23 PM
I never ended up giving my daughter flouride, but my daughter's pediatrition assured me that the amount used as supplements, or in water, is so tiny that it cannot harm your health. I don't know if that is true, but that is what he said.
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