Camden & Islington Fluoride Varnish Programme

Fluoride Varnish Programme - Introduction
The Whittington Health NHS Dental team is coming to your child's school as part of the community fluoride varnish programme.
The programme aims to improve the dental health of children.
It involves a brief inspection of your child's teeth followed by application of fluoride varnish as a means of preventing tooth decay.

What is fluoride varnish?

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating that is easily painted on teeth. The varnish releases fluoride over a period of time, which strengthens teeth, and prevents tooth decay. It can also stop tooth damage that has already started.

Why do you recommend putting fluoride varnish on children's teeth?

Tooth decay is still very common in children and it can cause pain, stop children from eating, speaking, sleeping and learning properly. Studies show that fluoride varnish is very effective if applied to the teeth at least twice a year.

What does it involve?

A small amount of fluoride varnish is painted onto the tooth surfaces using a small brush, where it dries instantly. It is quick, easy and tastes fruity.

Is fluoride varnish safe?

Yes, it is safe. There are no proven side effects when the correct amount of fluoride varnish is used. Use of fluoride varnish is part of the delivering better oral health recommendations by the Department of Health. Similar fluoride programmes are running in various areas in the UK.
(Delivering Better Oral Health - An evidence-based toolkit for prevention, Department of Health, third edition 2017)

Can my child have too much flouride?

Too much fluoride sometimes causes white or brown spots on teeth so it is important that your child gets the right amount of fluoride. Your child should not take fluoride drops or tablets the day before, the day of, or the day after the application.

What happens on the day the dental team visit the school?

If you have completed the consent form to the school before our visit, we will inspect your child's teeth for any dental problems and apply fluoride varnish.
Aftercare instructions will be given to your child on the day.
We will also send you a letter if we think your child needs a more thorough examination at the dentist.

How to do I make sure that my child gets free flouride varnish treatment?

Please complete the online consent form below and return it to your child's school as soon as possible.

Should I still take my child for regular dental check-ups even if they have been seen by the fluoride varnish team?

Yes! Being enrolled on this programme is not a replacement for regular check-ups at your family's dentist. During the fluoride varnish application, the inspection we carry out is very brief. It is not as thorough as a full examination that your child would receive at the dental surgery.

Why do we need to look after baby teeth? Won't they be losing the baby teeth soon?

Remember baby teeth are there for a reason! They give the child something to smile and chew with and (importantly) they save space for the grown up teeth. Early loss of baby teeth can lead to problems with the adult teeth later on.

Is it free for my child?

Yes, 3-7 year old children (Nursery-Year 2) in eligible schools will receive up to 2 applications per academic year. Please make sure you complete the consent form to make sure your child is seen by the dental team visiting your child's school.

Are there any reasons why my child should not have fluoride varnish applied at school?

If your child has
  • Severe asthma
  • Severe allergies /carries an Epi Pen
  • Child has a sore mouth or is unwell on the day
Instead, they may have it applied at their usual dentist.

Is it true that fluoride varnish contains alcohol? My religious beliefs do not allow consumption of alcohol.

Some fluoride varnishes contain alcohol, in the form of ethanol, but it has been agreed on the authority of the West Midlands Shari'ah Council that they are suitable for use by Muslims as they are being used as medicament and they are not an intoxicant, and are used in small amounts well below that which would intoxicate and they are not being used for reasons of vanity.

Last updated15 May 2023
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