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Fluoride Varnish Program

What is fluoride?
What is the Fluoride Varnish Program?
What is fluoride varnish?
How is fluoride varnish applied?
How often can fluoride varnish be applied?
Who can apply fluoride varnish?
Is fluoride varnish visible?
How long does fluoride varnish last?
How effective is fluoride varnish?
Who is eligible for the Health Department’s Fluoride Varnish Program?
Is fluoride varnish safe?
How is the Fluoride Varnish Program funded?
Where can I get more information?

What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral found in nature and throughout the earth’s crust. In nature, fluoride can be found in water and many types of fish. In dental offices, fluoride treatments have been used for years to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities.

What is the Fluoride Varnish Program?
The Health Department began the Fluoride Varnish Program in 2003 by training all nurses to perform a dental screening and apply the varnish in the health centers. Public health dental hygienists visit Head Start facilities, preschools and kindergartens. A dental screening required for kindergarten admittance is performed along with a preventive fluoride treatment.

What is fluoride varnish?A child gets a dental varnish applied
Fluoride varnish is a quick drying, tooth-colored, sticky material that is painted on all tooth surfaces in the mouth.
 
How is fluoride varnish applied?
Fluoride varnish is quickly and easily applied to the tooth surface using a small disposable brush. Varnish takes less than 2 minutes to apply, which makes it a great option for children and those who have special needs.
 
How often can fluoride varnish be applied?
Fluoride varnish can be applied two to four times a year or more frequently if the child is at higher risk of tooth decay.

Who can apply fluoride varnish?
Fluoride varnish can be applied by dental professionals and public health dental hygienists, and nurses who have been certified to place varnish.

Is fluoride varnish visible?
Fluoride varnish may temporarily look whitish immediately after it is applied. Any visible residue will go away after tooth brushing, which shouldn’t be done until the following day.

How long does fluoride varnish last?
Fluoride varnish is a temporary material that continues to release fluoride for hours after it is applied to the tooth. Some studies have shown the release of fluoride may last up to 28 weeks following the application.

How effective is fluoride varnish?
Fluoride varnish has been shown to be highly effective in strengthening the outer layer of teeth called enamel and it reduces tooth decay on the smooth tooth surfaces as well as the pits and fissures of back teeth.

Who is eligible for the Health Department’s Fluoride Varnish Program?
The program focuses on children up to 6 years of age. Children of other ages who are seen by the Health Department's Dental Prevention Program may also receive fluoride varnish, with consent from a parent/guardian.

Is fluoride varnish safe?
Yes. Fluoride varnish has a higher concentration of fluoride than fluoride foams, rinses or gels used in dental offices. Due to the fact that fluoride varnish is thicker in consistency and has a quick drying time, it is less likely that a child will swallow the varnish during application.

How is the Fluoride Varnish Program funded?
Funding comes from the Kentucky Department of Public Health, local health department funds and Medicaid reimbursement, as well as fees.The Health Department bills Medicaid for those who are eligible.

For children who are not covered by Medicaid--whether they have private dental insurance or not –United Way funding keeps charges to a maximum of $5 and the fee can slide downward to even $0 based on family income and size. No child is denied treatment because of an inability to pay. Providing these necessary services is the Health Department’s highest priority regardless of insurance coverage or finances. 

Where can I get more information?
If you are interested in learning more about the Health Department’s fluoride varnish program, please contact Linda Poynter.
 
For more information about dental health online, visit the following sites:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Oral Health Resources
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
American Association of Public Health Dentistry
American Dental Association
American Dental Hygienists' Association
Kentucky Oral Health Program
Kentucky Youth Advocates: Children's Dental Health Access in Kentucky

Source: Northern Kentucky Health Department