Maine Oral Health Program

Fluoride Varnish

Fluoride varnish is a coating that is painted on teeth. It helps to prevent new cavities. It can also help stop cavities that have already started.  It is sticky so it stays on the teeth longer than other kinds of fluoride treatments. It makes the outside of the teeth harder and helps to prevent decay. Because fluoride varnish slowly soaks into the teeth, it is a good way for the tooth to take in fluoride. Fluoride varnish has been found to reduce decay on tooth surfaces by 50% to 70%.

Fluoride varnish is completely safe.  It has been used successfully since the 1960’s.  The varnish is painted on the teeth. It is quick and easy to apply and does not have a bad taste. There is no pain. Teeth may look yellow after the fluoride varnish is painted on. The color will come off the next day when the teeth are brushed.

Fluoride Varnish fact sheet (PDF)

The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center (ORHC) has released a new patient education handout regarding Fluoride Varnish for Adults. The handout explains what fluoride varnish is and discusses its safety.

From the First Tooth (FTFT) is a prevention initiative whose goal is to improve the oral health of Maine children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children have their first oral health check up by age one. FTFT staff train healthcare providers all over the state how to do a basic oral health assessment, apply fluoride varnish to all newly erupted teeth, coach parents how to properly care for their child's mouth, and refer to a dental home.  Children receive fluoride varnish at well child visits with their healthcare provider from approximately 6 months to 42 months. At this time, the healthcare providers will assist the family in transitioning the child to a local dentist. From the First Tooth helps to build the capacity needed to ensure that all children can meet the AAP standard, and that they have access to early oral health care – from the first tooth.-