As soon as your child has teeth, they may get prone to cavities. Since they should have healthy teeth and gums in order to consume better nutrition, your dentist may recommend getting a fluoride varnish.

These are available not only at the dentist but also at the pediatrician’s clinic.

They can apply it between 2 to 4 times a year as a pediatrician has the required training to apply it.

This is because not many have access to a dentist until they are older.

It protects them from tooth decay in case they are quite vulnerable to getting it.

This article discusses what are the types of varnish and if your child should get it. Keep reading below to know more.

fluoride varnish uses

What is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluorides’ effectiveness in counteracting tooth decay and sensitive teeth is well known.

Similarly, varnishes are a product containing fluoride that prevents decay, slow its progression or simply hinder it from worsening.

It does so by strengthening the enamel so that it does not wear down due to the bacteria present inside your mouth.

It can prevent caries in children up to the age of 18 using 5 percent sodium fluoride or 2.26 percent fluoride content varnish.

This is treatment is not only limited to children but also holds importance for adults.

For instance, it can prevent root caries in adults when you apply it twice a year.

That said, children who are at a higher risk of getting cavities can benefit from it the most.

The frequency and time of tooth to fluoride contact determine the success of the treatment.

Other options you can use are fluoride toothpaste and rinse.

So why should you go for a varnish? 

Firstly, a varnish is easy to use and apply.

Your child can even get it at a pediatrician if they do not go to a dentist yet.

Next, there is also a longer fluoride exposure time with a varnish than with toothpaste or rinse.

Your use and apply the latter two for a very short time in comparison before rinsing it off.

Hence, the contact time of the teeth with fluoride is shorter.

Along with that, there can be a risk of ingestion.

Young children should not ingest fluoride as it can be toxic for them.

When it comes to varnishes, they dry down immediately.

The resin in the varnish quickly adheres the fluoride to the teeth.

However, one complaint you may have about the varnish is that it is sticky and leaves a film on the teeth.


Types of Fluoride Varnish

Some of the popular varnishes in the market are:

MI Varnish 

It contains 5 percent sodium fluoride and Recaldent.

The Recaldent contains amorphous calcium phosphate and casein phosphopeptide.

The casein peptide binds to teeth.

Moreover, ACP stabilizes and then recalcify tooth structure.

MI Paste and Recaldent can remineralize teeth.

In fact, it is one of the popular varnishes that are proven to be effective.

Kolorz ClearShield

This clear varnish upholds your aesthetics as it is completely clear.

It contains 5 percent sodium fluoride.

Since you may taste the varnish a bit, this one comes in several flavors such as watermelon, cookie dough, bubblegum, caramel and mint to make your experience of applying it rather flavorful.

fluoride varnish types


Like every other varnish, it contains sodium fluoride in a solution of alcohol-based natural resin solutions.

However, it is a tinted varnish.

That can help in visualization and application but affect aesthetics.

Vanish Varnish 

Rather unique than others in this list, the vanish varnish releases fluoride over a period of 24 hours.

As you now know, the longer there is contact with teeth with fluoride, the more effective it will be.

Hence, it keeps releasing fluoride over a period of a day.

While it does inevitably contain sodium fluoride, it also has tricalcium phosphate.

These two aid in the demineralization of the enamel.

Moreover, the varnish has flowability and less film thickness.

It works in both dry and wet environments as well as polished or unpolished teeth.

Fluor Protector S 

Unlike the rest, this varnish uses 1.5 percent ammonium fluoride.

The solvents are ethanol and water.

They increase flowability plus wetting while decreasing viscosity.

The solvent evaporates and the fluoride concentration increases by four times on the tooth’s surface.

A polymer adheres it to your teeth.

Moreover, it’s transparent,  thin viscosity and homogeneity.

fluoride varnish application

How Do I Apply a Fluoride Varnish?

A pediatrician or dentist will apply it to your or your child’s teeth.

However, if your dentist allows you to apply it on your own, go ahead and do so.

The application uses a small brush in order to paint the sides as well as the top part of each tooth.

At first, you or your child may feel that it is sticky but actually, it hardens almost immediately.

Hence, your child will not be able to ingest it.

They may feel it with their tongue but cannot lick it off.

Applying the varnish does not hurt at all.

However, young children may get scared during the process.

This is why they may begin to cry right before or during the application.

Though, it only takes a few minutes to brush the varnish on all the teeth.

In fact, their crying can help a parent.

The child’s mouth will be slightly open so you can quickly coat all of their teeth with the varnish.

If someone else is applying the varnish then you will have to hold your child in your lap.

This allows the person who is applying the varnish to be in the knee to knee placement with you.

Adults can easily apply it on their own.

For both children and adults, flavorful varnishes can make the application rather easier and enjoyable.

dental procedure safe for children

Is Using it Safe?

Fluoride varnishes are safe to use.

Dentists use it all over the world including on children in order to protect those who have a risk of decay and cavities.

Applying it to your or your child’s teeth does not require an extensive amount.

They only use a small amount which makes it difficult to swallow any fluoride.

Hence, you do not have to worry about swallowing or ingestion by your child.

They may not get fluoride toxicity by using a negligible amount of varnish that hardens soon on your teeth.

Since its application is rather quick and it hardens fastly too, it becomes safe to use.

Plus, you do not need to keep it on at all times.

Once you apply it, you can brush it off between 4 to 12 hours of application.

Children usually like the flavors added to the varnish.

Hence, you can take a flavorful one in order to make the application easier and more fun.

While there are transparent brands too, some may leave an unpleasant color on your teeth.

They can turn yellow teeth or duller in color.

However, this discoloration and dullness is only temporary.

It does not affect your enamel permanently.

Rather, as soon as your child brushes off the varnish, their original teeth color will be right there.

So the varnishes may have a tint and color but that is nothing to worry about as the teeth will return to normal as soon as you brush them.

They help to protect your and your child’s teeth from cavities and decay.

advantages and cons

Advantages and Disadvantages


It has the highest concentration of fluoride than other methods meant to protect you from cavities.

Plus, less fluoride is used per application than others.

Moreover, it can stay on the enamel period of time.

This enables certain varnishes to release the fluoride over time.

Moreover, it can work in both dry and wet conditions.

Hence, patients who have a dry salivary control or children who have more saliva naturally can easily apply it and it will not be removed.

The plasma fluoride levels in the saliva are far below the toxic levels.

Hence, there is less risk of rapid ingestion but even if it occurs, the levels are not toxic.

Hence, it is safe to use and apply with few adverse effects.

It is a quick process, does not result in gagging or discomfort and is also less costly than other treatments such as foam in trays.


Varnishes leave a yellow discoloration or dullness on your teeth.

However, it is temporary and you can brush it off.

This helps the dentist to see if every tooth structure is covered with the varnish though it may be displeasing to the patient.

It may also result in a burning sensation if it contacts the gingival tissue.

It is also contraindicated in people with asthma or with colophony allergy.

Over time, it can result in colophony contact allergy to the dental staff that applies the product.

One other downside is that applying it uses more manual dexterity than using other products such as rinses or toothpaste.


Getting a fluoride varnish is safe for you and your child.

Hence, if you are prone to getting root caries and your child to get tooth decay then consult your dentist for an application.