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Keep Your Child's Smile Healthy with Fluoride Varnish

Date: 02/03/22

Healthy gums and teeth are very important to your child's overall health. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. That makes it the perfect time to talk with your doctor about good dental habits for your little ones.

When your child’s teeth start coming in, your doctor may recommend that your child receive fluoride varnish treatments. Fluoride varnish treatments help prevent tooth decay. This can be done 2 to 4 times per year. The number of treatments depends on how likely it is that your child gets cavities.

Pediatricians are trained to apply fluoride varnish. This is because many young children do not see a dentist until they are older. If your child is seeing a dentist at a young age, the fluoride varnish may be applied at their dentist up to 2 times and at the doctor’s office up to 2 times too.  

What is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating a doctor puts on your child’s teeth. It takes less than two minutes to apply and dries almost instantly. The coating helps make the outer layer of their tooth enamel harder and stronger. As a result, your child is less likely to get cavities or experience tooth decay.

Is it safe?

Fluoride varnish is safe and can even be used on babies after their first tooth comes in. Since doctors apply a very small amount and it is made to stick to teeth, there’s a very low chance of it being swallowed. The process is quick and painless.

How old should my child be?

Children of all ages, even infants, can have fluoride varnish applied. Talk with your doctor about what is best for your child’s dental health.

How long does it last?

Fluoride varnish provides protection for several months after application. It is recommended for children to get it at least twice a year.

What do I need to do after it’s been applied?

There are a few things you will want to do so your child gets the most out of their treatment. Here’s two:

  • Wait until the next day to brush your child’s teeth
  • Avoid hard or chewy foods for the rest of the day

Your child can eat and drink right after the fluoride varnish is applied. But only give your child soft foods and cold foods or liquids. Avoid hot foods.

 Important: This treatment does not replace brushing your child’s teeth twice a day.

How much does it cost?

As a Louisiana Healthcare Connection’s member, this service is covered and comes at no cost to you.

To learn more about fluoride varnish visit