Dental Experts: Fluoride Varnish Is a “Generational” Way to Prevent Tooth Decay

How would you like to cut your risk of cavities in half?

A 2015 study conducted by the University of Sydney Dental School found that preventative techniques such as applying fluoride varnish can reduce the need for fillings in adults by up to 50 percent.

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral used to prevent tooth decay. It helps reverse early damage by rebuilding tooth enamel. Fluoride is so important to good oral health that it is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.

For cavity prevention treatment, fluoride works best when applied directly to the teeth by a professional. But because there are different kinds of fluoride treatments, how do you know which one is the right choice to protect your dental health?

Let’s compare fluoride foam and fluoride varnish, two common fluoride treatments.

 What Is Fluoride Foam?

Fluoride foam is a solution used during in-office dentist appointments and prescribed for at-home applications. It is an appropriate option for young children who have problems brushing their teeth properly or for adults with sensitive teeth and gums who find regular brushing painful.

A foam-filled tray is placed into the mouth and over the teeth. Over the next few minutes, the foam activates, and tiny bubbles continually expand and collapse over and between teeth, ensuring maximum coverage.

Fluoride foam reduces cavities by around 25% in adolescents and adults, and by approximately 40% in children.

What Is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride varnish is a topical fluoride treatment that the dentist applies directly to the teeth during an in-office visit. Thicker than foam, the solution quickly sets and adheres to the teeth.

Varnish is extremely effective at reducing cavities. One study concluded that fluoride varnish cuts the incidence of cavities by between 50% and 70% for all patient groups.

Head-to-Head: Fluoride Foam versus Fluoride Varnish

Besides the significant difference in effectiveness, fluoride varnish has several other advantages over fluoride foam:

  • Lowered risk of dental fluorosis – discoloration and damage to the teeth
  • Reduced likelihood of fluoride ingestion, making it a safer procedure for children under the age of 6
  • The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that infants and children should receive fluoride varnish treatments as soon as their teeth start coming in.
  • Because trays are unnecessary, the application of varnish does not trigger the gag reflex.
  • There is no post-treatment restriction on eating or drinking.
  • Varnish application is faster than foam treatment. It takes about as long as brushing your teeth.

An Ounce of Prevention Is a Pound of Cure

Prevention has always been a part of the world of dentistry. What we’re seeing is a generational shift.”

~ Dr. Richard Valachovic, DMD, MPH, President Emeritus, American Dental Education Association

Fluoride varnish has emerged as a painless and effective way to prevent cavities and reduce the need for drilling and fillings.

If you live in the Las Vegas area, your most trusted resource for premium dental care is Foutz Family Dentistry. Located conveniently in Henderson, Nevada, the Foutz family has been a respected name in family dentistry for four generations.

For more information about fluoride varnish or to book an appointment, contact Foutz Family Dentistry!

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What Are Sealants and Why Are They Needed?

Proper dental care can affect your overall health. Brushing and flossing can help with overall cleanliness in your mouth, but brushes only reach certain portions of your teeth. Your dentist might recommend sealants to help keep your overall oral health on track. What are sealants, and why do you need them?

What Are Sealants?

A dental sealant is a thin coating that your dentist paints on the surfaces of your molars and premolars in an attempt to prevent tooth decay. The sealants form a protective cover that shields your teeth from germs and food. Sealants effectively protect against 80% of cavities for up to two years. They continue protecting against approximately 50% of cavities for up to four years.

Sealants do not take the place of brushing and flossing for your overall oral health. They do help to provide an extra layer of protection to your teeth. However, cavities can develop even in sealed teeth. Discuss with your dentist how you can best maintain your sealed teeth.

Why Do You Need Sealants?

Sealants get into the depressions of the teeth to protect portions of the surface that toothbrushes can’t always reach. Specifically, sealants protect the back teeth. They help keep particles of food out of the indentations that the bristles of a toothbrush simply can’t clean because a toothbrush is designed to clean the smooth surfaces of the teeth.

Who Needs Sealants?

Cavities are likely to form in the indentations and grooves of molars and premolars. For this reason, it’s recommended that children and teenagers get sealants as soon as their permanent molars and premolars come in, starting around age 6. Adults who have no cavities or fillings are also good candidates for sealants.

Some dental insurance policies will pay for sealants if your dentist recommends them. However, many times insurance will only cover them for children. Consult with the professionals in your dentist’s office or your insurance company to determine whether your insurance will cover the cost of sealants.

Consult Your Dentist

If you still have questions about dental sealants or if you or a member of your family need them, speak to your dentist. Your dentist can give you more information about sealants. Dr. Foutz can assess your situation and discuss whether you need to consider sealants.

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Properly Fitting Athletic Mouth Guards Are Important to Protect Teeth

An important part of any athlete’s uniform is the mouth guard.  It has become standard in almost any sport to wear a mouth guard to protect teeth.  While it is more common to see mouth guards in sports such as football, hockey, and soccer, even athletes such as gymnasts or tennis players could benefit from wearing a mouth guard.  Because the mouth guard can be such an important piece to an athlete, it is crucial that it fit properly.  Custom fit mouth guards made by an experienced dentist offer the best fit and protection.  

Importance Of A Properly Fitted Mouth Guard

According to research, about 90% of mouth guards are bought at retail stores.  These mouth guards can’t be adjusted or molded to fit properly, thus decreasing their effectiveness.  Stock mouth guards have to be held in the mouth by clenching of the jaws and biting of the teeth. Boil and bite mouth guards are molded to the teeth by first boiling the mouth guard and then biting down on the piece.  The uneven bite, pressure from the bite, and large teeth can cause the plastic to wear thin in certain places.  If this happens, the mouth guard will need to be replaced midway through the season. While the boil and bite mouth guard offers a little more protection than a basic, stock mouth guard, it still interferes with an athlete’s breathing and speech.  

It is important that an athlete know how to protect the face and mouth. Mouth guards that don’t fit properly can be uncomfortable or work incorrectly. People mistakenly think that a large, bulky mouth guard will ensure less damage.  However, a mouth guard should not cover the soft palate part of the upper mouth.  If a mouth guard covers the soft palate, it can cause a gag reflex.  A mouth guard that is cut properly may not be as large, but it will offer better protection.  An athlete with a correctly fitted mouth guard should be able to speak clearly or breathe properly. The right fit can even allow a player to drink without having to remove the mouth guard at all.  The myth of a mouth guard is that it has to be uncomfortable in order to be doing the job right, when in fact, the mouth guard should fit comfortably or else it has been made wrong.  

Benefit Of Custom Fit Mouth Guards

To ensure a mouthpiece fits properly, it must cover the athlete’s teeth and gums with a precise fit.  An experienced dentist will be able to find just the right custom fit for your mouth. The goal is to protect gums from lacerations while protecting the athlete from a chipped or lost tooth, or root damage. Studies have shown that 10-40% of sports injuries in children are dental injuries. Wearing a mouth guard will greatly reduce the risk of damage to the teeth and mandibular jaw that could lead to costly endodontic treatment.  While research is still being conducted, there has been some evidence showing that properly fitted mouth guards can even help to reduce the amount of concussions in athletes.  Although a mouth guard doesn’t guarantee there will be no injury, it does drastically reduce the damage that can occur.  

Henderson Custom Fit Athletic Mouth Guards

Foutz Family Dentistry offers custom fit athletic mouth guard providing you or those you love with the best way of protecting your mouth. For more information contact our office today at (702) 792-5929.

Dr. Barton H. Foutz, DDS
2510 Wigwam Parkway Suite 100 Henderson, NV 89074
(702) 792-5929

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Ezbond A. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
1st Generation:

Great Grandfather

Dr. Ezbond A. Foutz
Harold B. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
2nd Generation:

Grandfather

Dr. Harold B. Foutz
Lawrence C. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
3rd Generation:

Father

Dr. Lawrence C. Foutz
Barton H. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
4th Generation:

Family and Cosmetic Dentist

Dr. Barton H. Foutz