Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 12 Choosing A Fluoride Varnish Part2 Diqthumb

What to consider when choosing a fluoride varnish (part 2)

Dec. 19, 2017
Colleen M. Olson, RDH, BBA, reviews four more fluoride varnish products.
WITH ALL OF THE FLUORIDE VARNISHES AVAILABLE, it can be hard to choose one based on anything other than handling properties and patient acceptance. However, a few fluoride varnishes have unique ingredients or properties that may make them stand out from the rest.

Below are a few I have tried, listed in alphabetical order.

Editor's note: The first part of this article was published in September 2017. Read it here.

3M Fast Release Varnish by 3M Oral Care

Formula: Contains 5% sodium fluoride with xylitol

Available flavors: Caramel, strawberry, and mint

Color: Dries virtually clear

Instructions for use: Lightly dry the surfaces to be treated. Apply the product to dry teeth and use only enough varnish to form a thin coating.

Packaging: Individual dose cups with brushes

Patient instructions: Patients should avoid brushing or flossing and eat only soft food for at least four hours after treatment. Do not consume hot drinks or alcohol for at least four hours after treatment.

My two cents: Most of this product's fluoride is released in the first two hours, which is great for patients who may not comply with instructions after application.

To learn more, visit 3M Oral Care's website.

Enamel Pro Varnish by Premier Dental Products

Formula: Contains 5% sodium fluoride with amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP)

Available flavors: Strawberries and cream, VanillaMint, and bubble gum

Color: White, transparent color

Instructions for use: Wash and dry the tooth surface. Apply the varnish with even brush strokes until the varnish surface is dry. Sets on contact with saliva.

Packaging: Individual dose cups with brushes

Patient instructions: It is recommended that the patient eat only soft food for two hours after treatment. Avoid brushing for four to six hours after application. Alcoholic beverages and mouth rinses should be avoided for at least four hours after application.

My two cents: ACP aids in tooth remineralization and helps deliver more fluoride to the tooth surfaces. Combining ACP with fluoride is a strategy aimed at reversing demineralization, increasing fluoride uptake, and occluding dentinal tubules.

To learn more, visit Premier's website.

FluoriMax 2.5% Sodium Fluoride Varnish by Elevate Oral Care

Formula: Contains 2.5% sodium fluoride

Available flavors: Bubble gum and mint

Color: Dries clear

Instructions for use: Twist the brush into the ampule until it snaps into place. Leave the dentition moist and moisten the brush bristle by squeezing. Retract the cheek and make only a single swipe from the posterior to the anterior in each quadrant. Keep the cheek retracted for three to five seconds to allow the varnish to set. Repeat on the opposite side.

Packaging: Individual doses in convenient flow-through unit-dose ampules or bottles with brush applicators

Patient instructions: Patients should avoid hot drinks, alcohol-containing beverages, and mouth rinses for at least four hours. Wait four to five hours for brushing and flossing.

My two cents: This product contains food-grade shellac, rather than tree resin, and it dries thin, which is pleasing to the patient. Elevate's research showed fluoride "saturation" from varnishes occurs at 2.5% sodium fluoride, while Elevate's product "uses the fluoride in its patented formula more efficiently, delivering better fluoride uptake with half the fluoride concentration." (1) The flow-through ampule and this formula make this varnish by far the easiest to apply of any of the varnishes I have tried.

To learn more, visit Elevate Oral Care's website.

MI Varnish with Recaldent (CPP-ACP) by GC America

Formula: Contains5% sodium fluoride with Recaldent (CPP-APP)

Available flavors: Fresh mint and fresh strawberry

Color: Dries virtually clear

Instructions for use: Dry the teeth and apply a thin, uniform layer of varnish. The varnish sets on contact with water or saliva.

Packaging: Individual dose cups with brushes

Patient instructions: Patients should avoid hard, hot, or sticky foods; brushing and flossing; and alcohol products for four hours.

My two cents: This varnish combines a source of bioavailable calcium and phosphate in addition to sodium fluoride for optimal remineralization and acid resistance. It is easy to disperse across tooth surfaces and the flavors are mild. Fluoride from MI Varnish is released quickly. As with other MI products, this varnish should not be used on patients with a milk protein allergy.

To learn more, visit GC America's website.

When choosing a fluoride varnish for your office, there are many factors to consider. I hope that this two-part summary can provide direction to help you find the perfect fit for your office and patient base.

Editor's note: Do you have a question for Colleen? Is there a product you'd like to see her review? Or would you like to submit your own hygiene product article? Send an email to [email protected]. You might just see it in the Hygiene Product Navigator! If you're not a Product Navigator subscriber, click here to sign up.


1. For better fluoride uptake than traditional varnishes. Elevate Oral Care website. Accessed December 17, 2017.

Colleen M. Olson, RDH, BBA, is an editorial director for the e-newsletter, Pearls for Your Practice: The Hygiene Product Navigator. She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Texas A&M University in 2008 and worked in sales for five years. She graduated from the Blinn College Dental Hygiene program in 2013. She is a full-time mom to Bonnie Grace and is currently a part-time hygienist in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Zach, and their families.
For the most current dental product articles, click here.
For the most current dental headlines, click here.