Taste, or gustatory perception, is one of our basic senses. The sensation of taste includes five established basic types of taste: sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness, and umami (savory). As we know the first four, the fifth taste, or umami, is the taste of glutamate, an amino acid found throughout the human body and in protein-containing food. Glutamate elicits a sensation, which is often described as full-bodied, meaty and savory.
This savory sensation has been termed umami in Japanese, which roughly translate into a “wonderful taste”. Taste is a form of chemoreception which occurs in the specialized taste receptors in the mouth. It is one way in which infants and young children experience the world, and as their bodies develop, so do their taste buds. Children are more sensitive to certain tastes than adults, but because the taste can be subjective, the mechanism that causes taste sensitivity in youngsters can be difficult to analyze.
We can say that taste is the composite sense that’s partly determined by taste buds but also affected by a substance aroma, it’s appearance and even previous experiences with that or similar substance. Some studies show that there’s a noticeable change in taste perception as a child develops to a teenager.
Tooth decay, simplified, is a transmittable infection caused by the bacteria produce acid that dissolves enamel by demineralizing it. Our teeth are on a continuous cycle of demineralization and remineralization of tooth enamel. If the process is left unchecked, bacteria will eventually destroy the tooth structure.
Clinical evidence of caries reduction as a result of fluoride has been reported for decades. The dentist must choose products that are cost-effective, time-efficient, and patient-friendly for in office use. The introduction of many attractive products makes it difficult for dental professionals to know which are effective.
There are multiple mechanisms by which fluoride works: through reducing demineralization of enamel, through remineralization of early enamel caries and through inhibition of bacterial activity in dental plaque. Fluoride varnish has been shown to be effective in the prevention of caries in both primary and permanent teeth.
Fluoride varnish is a resin-based application that is designed to stay on the surface of the teeth for several hours. The ingestion of fluoride as primary teeth is being developed has shown that the teeth have formed stronger and more resistant for caries. The fluoride ions reduce the rate of tooth enamel demineralization and increase the rate of remineralization of teeth in the early stages of dental cavities by the formation of fluorapatite and its incorporation into the dental enamel (iso-ionic exchange).
Certain children, mostly those at higher risk for caries, need additional fluoride. Because of its safety, fluoride varnish can be applied without specialized equipment by trained dental personnel to at-risk children and adults in dental (medical) offices. The application takes about 30 seconds to 1 minute and varnish sets quickly.
To keep it on the surface of the teeth for several hours, patients are told to eat soft food and avoid brushing and flossing for the remainder of the day. Varnish can be reapplied every 3 to 6 months, depending on the risk. No cases of fluorosis have been linked to excessive varnish use.
There are many indications for using fluoride varnish especially in preventive and orthodontic dentistry which show us that the main customers are younger patients and children. Back to the beginning, the taste of the fluoride varnish should take a big part in choosing the right one for you.
Some fluoride products have a bitter taste and often cause nausea and effects similar to this one and, as we said above, this product must stay on the tooth surface for several hours, which can be really annoying. Patient benefits are huge: Fluoride varnish use reduces caries by 38%, can reverse white spot lesions, dries fast so kids don’t ingest excess fluoride and it’s great for hypersensitivity. Children in practices using fluoride varnish are more likely to establish dental homes. Much of we call “taste” is flavor, a trait that has as much to do with the smell and texture as it does with our taste buds.
We are wired for aversion to bitter tastes, a trait our ancestors developed to protect themselves against accidental poisoning. Because smell, appearance and our expectations have a lot to do with the way we perceive taste, children who are tasting things, perhaps for the first time, are probably relying on their sensitive taste buds as well as their sense of smell and other visual cues, to decide if something tastes good or not. Our taste buds introduce us to a flavor, but the experience of tasting something before is priceless.
If we think, we will like some flavors, there is a much better chance that we will. Children’s liking of the taste of a product has been identified as the most important determinant of children’s food choice “liking” and it can be defined as the pleasure derived from oro-sensory stimulation of food. Furthermore, it has been suggested that a decrease in liking after repeated exposure can be minimized by giving adult or children a choice between different flavors.
If someone tells you to imagine the taste of strawberry,” a small red fruit which is soft and juicy, and has tiny yellow seeds on its skin”, you can imagine it with more detail and our mouth will start salivating. Its expectation based on a memory, in other words, it’s all about accessing the cognitive aspect of taste. Ask someone to describe the bubblegum flavor and most likely, that person will be at a loss for words. However, most people would consider it generally fruity, and kids will absolutely love it.
Some fluoride varnish products come in a mint flavor and most people love it for the sweet flavor and cool, refreshing taste it leaves in your mouth. That cool sensation comes from menthol, a natural chemical compound found in the herb. One interesting thing is that women of child-bearing age have the most sensitive sense of smell. That gives them an advantage for testing “flavor products“- and sharing their feedback. If the product come in different flavors this can be beneficial in many ways such as motivation for further usage and decreasing the risk of failing the dental procedure.
Regarding flavor and texture, it is important to choose a product that has a good taste as well as texture. This product can make the difference between a positive dental experience and a negative dental experience in years to come. The basic formula for fluoride varnish has stayed the same over the years. Many companies including Wonderful Dental have embraced additions to the product that meet oral health needs, such as antibacterials, desensitizers, remineralizes, as well as special attention to flavor and texture for the pediatric patient. The mission is to make products that have the best taste, texture, and aroma possible, and on the other hand, to choose the right one for you which will fulfill all your expectations and needs.