Dental Flouride

Reasons Why Fluoride Varnish is Better than Other Fluoride Treatments

Oral health specialist is in charge of intercepting dental disease on its tracks. Some of the most common dental diseases such as dental caries can be prevented. Dental caries ranks on the top of the list for damaging the tooth structure. One of the best ways to successfully manage dental caries lies in your ability to take care of your teeth and a balanced diet. Using fluoride ranks among the best therapeutic care to prevent caries. Fluoride sealants such as fluoride varnish fight caries in different ways.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives fluoride varnish the go signal for its effectiveness in treating dentinal hypersensitivity. Fluoride varnish has a sticky resin that clings firmly to tooth surfaces. This is the primary reason why fluoride varnish is effective in preventing dental caries in the first place.

What is Dental Caries?

Dental caries is a chronic disease that affects a compelling number of the world population. This number includes school-age children and adults. About 60% to 90% of school children are affected by dental caries. Children coming from lower socio-economic status are generally the ones affected by caries.
If left untreated dental caries can develop into the destruction of the crowns of the teeth. The side effects also include severe pain and a lot of suffering. Repairing and replacing the damage teeth will take time. The process of repair is expensive which explains why this can drain financial resources by those affected by major tooth decay.


Fluoride varnish is not a newcomer to the dental community since it was first developed and introduced in the 1960s as a way to prevent dental caries. The use of this varnish was highly promoted in other major countries of the world like Canada, Europe, Scandinavia and in the United States.
Fluoride varnish was originally intended use for prolonging the contact between fluoride and dental enamel since varnish sticks to the tooth surface for a longer period of time. During that period when the use of fluoride varnish was still in its experimental stage it was found out that by applying fluoride to the teeth surface, this slowly releases reservoirs of fluoride.

Fluoride Varnish and Dental Caries

Fluoride varnish stops dental caries on its track by enhancing mineral absorption. Minerals like calcium and phosphate are incorporated into the crystal structure of the tooth enamel through the process of remineralization. These minerals strengthen the teeth by increasing its ability to resist acid attack.
Fluoride ions are known for interrupting bacterial activity. In low concentrated form, a fluoride such as those found in fluoridated drinking water containing 0.7 ppm, exists in ionic forms like those in saliva and plaque. Fluoride varnish results in calcium fluoride formation near the tooth enamel surface. A layer forms that provide an anticariogenic effect in case oral pH fails to do its job of protecting your teeth.

Concentrated fluoride of the highest concentration is typically applied in dental clinics by those of the dental profession. The dentist uses about 9,000 ppm fluoride that includes fluoride varnish, gels, and foams. Patients who are at risk for caries are treated with fluoride varnish from three to six months. Thanks to its sticky consistency, there is no risk of accidentally swallowing fluoride varnish. In contrast fluoride in gel form does not guarantee that younger patients will not swallow it.

Cochrane Collaboration Systematic Review

Results coming from systematic reviews on fluoride varnish effectiveness was released by the Cochrane Collaboration.

  • One year study was conducted on patients who are 16 years old and younger
  • The reviews were based on 22 clinical trials and more than 12,000 subjects in randomized scenarios showing that there no bias opinion
  • Fluoride varnish is effective in preventing caries in children and adolescents
  • Findings from the reviews showed how tooth decay was reduced by at least 43 percent for patients who have permanent teeth and that 37 percent of decaying and missing filled tooth surfaces for patients who have primary teeth
  • Fluoride varnish is effective in protecting the maxillary incisors. The implications of these studies show how treatment using this dental protection are more effective when it is started at a much earlier stage or simply starting patients with the treatment at a much younger age than 16

What Does Fluoride Varnish Do

Fluoride varnish prevents caries, slows it down or stops this from getting worse
Effective caries from developing and causing damage to the teeth
Reverses or treats caries lesions or white spots in tooth enamel both in primary and permanent teeth
Contributes to tooth remineralization

Reduces dentine sensitivity

  • To be realistic, varnish treatment will not completely prevent cavities
  • Systematic reviews and scientifically backed results reveal how fluoride varnish is effective in preventing caries that led to its endorsement by leading dental professionals and the organizations where they are members of
  • Easy application contributes to its popularity among the dental community. There is no need for special equipment or even a special chair to sit on. There is also no need for medications to lessen the pain because generally, some form of discomfort exists but, this does not require the need for medicines.

The Significance of Studies Made on Fluoride Varnish

For Practicing Dentist

  • Research studies show that the make fluoride varnish effective for patients, dentists must apply this varnish at least from two to four times a year
  • The application must be made both for primary and permanent teeth
  • The teeth were protected depending on how frequent the varnish was applied
  • The teeth must undergo oral prophylaxis prior to fluoride varnish application
  • Using the right fluoride concentrate in the varnish
  • There is no feedback regarding any side effects

For Future Research Studies

  • It was recommended that future trials must include the results of potential side effects including any allergic reactions by some patients who might not get along with this dental treatment
  • It was also suggested that future trials must include the evaluation of complex interventions that incorporate fluoride varnish with other methods use

Benefits of Additional Fluoride Treatment

Patients who are at high risk of tooth decay include those that have these conditions:

Dry mouth

This is a disease caused by taking certain medications like those taken for allergies, anxiety and high blood pressure. Even people who are under the neck and head radiation treatment can make them prone to tooth decay. For patients with dry mouth disease, the issue is about lack of saliva making it harder to digest and wash away foods that they eat.

Gum Disease

Gum disease such as periodontitis leaves the tooth and its roots under the mercy of bacteria. This increases the chances of having tooth decay. Early stages of periodontitis are referred to as gingivitis.

Frequent episodes of cavities

For patients who experience having one cavity every year or even every two years, they can benefit from additional fluoride treatment.

Existing crown and braces

These form of dental treatment can place the teeth at risk for tooth decay. In the case of crowns, this places the teeth structure at risk. The same can be said about braces or brackets. These orthodontic appliances place the teeth at risk although the main reason is for aesthetic purposes to make the patient look better with a complete set of properly aligned teeth.

Associated Risks

Using fluoride varnish comes with its set of risk, however, the advantages of using this outweighs any setbacks. It is important to ask for parental supervision and guidance especially in cases when the dentist asks for permission to apply fluoride varnish or other similar teeth and gums therapeutic care.
Excess use of fluoride varnish can cause some stains on the tooth enamel although the effect will not last long. After a few hours, the teeth will go back to its original color. To be fair, given the fact that very low levels of fluoride in dental varnish will make it difficult to get exposed to hazardous substances.

The Bottom Line

Some of the reasons why fluoride varnish is better than other fluoride treatment lie in its ability to protect the teeth. Parents will feel confident that there will be no issues about accidental swallowing of the fluoride solution. Fluoride varnish is effective in its role as anticaries. This was further proven in 2014 when the United States Preventive Services Task Force or USPSTF published the result of their research studies that show how the use of fluoride varnish prevents dental caries in kids below 5 years old. This supports the recommendation of pediatricians to apply fluoride varnish to primary teeth of infants and younger kids starting from the moment when their first teeth appeared.
Simply put, dentists are trained to carry out fluoride varnish therapy for dental caries prevention in their clinics while those who are not dentist like pediatricians are granted the clinical privilege of using fluoride varnish for their younger patients. This is a collaboration that has managed to save the teeth of kids 5 and below. For children who are given fluoride varnish during the appearance of their very first teeth, the use of this varnish has saved their teeth and keep it healthy even when they grow older.