Fluoride Varnish

Fluoride varnish is a solution that is brushed onto teeth to help prevent tooth decay.

How do I know if I Need Fluoride Varnish?

For patients at higher risk of cavities, or communities with a high level of cavities, the World Health Organization recommends a fluoride varnish application 2-4 times a year for children. It has been proven to be a safe, effective and cost-efficient way to reduce tooth decay. Ask your dentist if fluoride varnishes are right for you.

If you do get fluoride treatment, remember that varnishes are meant to complement, not replace, daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing.

What is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. It helps prevent cavities and reverse early tooth decay.

Fluoride in liquid form that is brushed onto teeth by a dental professional and then sets is called fluoride varnish. It sticks to the enamel surface of teeth, protecting the teeth from the plaque acids that attack the enamel. Fluoride varnishes have been widely used in Europe and the US since 1964 and are available in many other parts of the world as well.

How does Fluoride Varnish Work?

Fluoride varnish treatments are quick and simple and work in two ways.

First, the varnish acts as a barrier between your teeth and the plaque acids that cause decay. Second, over time, the varnish releases fluoride into the teeth which keeps the enamel strong against decay.

When you have the fluoride varnish procedure, you or your child would need to first brush your teeth. Then it takes the dental professional just a minute or two to apply the fluoride treatment. It dries quickly on its own. There is no need to worry if saliva gets on the varnish while it is drying. You should plan on eating only soft foods the rest of the day, and not brush or floss until the following day.

Glossary