What to consider when choosing a fluoride varnish (part 1)

Colleen M. Olson, RDH, BBA, reviews five different types of fluoride varnish.

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A FEW WEEKS AGO, I WROTE ABOUT FLUORIDE VARNISH being my favorite in-office fluoride product because it is safe and effective, requires minimal application time, has few patient restrictions, and is generally well accepted by patients.

The only problem is that there are so many options to choose from! Choosing a product to stock can be overwhelming, so I decided to try a handful of fluoride varnishes out for myself. I've reviewed these in alphabetical order below.


Enamelast fluoride varnish by Ultradent Products

Formula: Contains 5% sodium fluoride sweetened with xylitol, plus a patented adhesion-promoting agent for enhanced retention

Available flavors: Orange cream, bubble gum, Walterberry, and cool mint

Color: Dries nearly invisible

Instructions for use: Dry the treatment area and apply a thin, smooth layer of varnish. The varnish sets on contact with moisture.

Packaging: Individual dose cups with brushes

Patient instructions: Patients should avoid brushing, flossing, and chewing hard, sticky, or hot foods for four to six hours.

My two cents: This product seems to be more viscous than some of the other varnishes, which makes it easy to disperse into interproximal areas and around orthodontic brackets. It leaves behind only a very thin film, which is pleasant for the patient.

To learn more, visit Ultradent's website.


Fluorilaq Squeeze fluoride varnish by Pascal International

Formula: Contains 5% sodium fluoride sweetened with xylitol

Available flavors: Bubblegum

Color: Dries clear

Instructions for use: Remove excess moisture and apply a thin film of varnish. The varnish sets on contact with moisture.

Packaging: Thirty-dose bottle with brushes

Patient instructions: Advise the patient not to brush and to follow a soft food diet for four to six hours.

My two cents: This varnish felt very smooth after application and did not leave behind a goopy residue the way some varnishes do. The bubblegum flavor is mild.

To learn more, visit Pascal's website.


PreviDent fluoride varnish by Colgate

Formula: Contains 5% sodium fluoride sweetened with xylitol

Available flavors: Grape bubblegum, raspberry, and mint

Color: Natural enamel color

Instructions for use: Remove excess moisture, apply a thin film of varnish, and spray gently with air until the varnish surface is dry. The varnish sets on contact with saliva.

Packaging: Individual dose cups with brushes

Patient instructions: The patient should be instructed to eat only soft foods for two hours.

My two cents: This varnish is nice and smooth, and the flavors are mild.

To learn more, visit Colgate's website.


Profluorid fluoride varnish by Voco

Formula: Contains 5% sodium fluoride sweetened with xylitol

Available flavors: Cherry, caramel, melon, mint, and bubblegum

Color: Transparent white

Instructions for use: Eliminate excess saliva and spread a thin film of varnish. The varnish sets on contact with moisture.

Packaging: Individual dose cups with brushes

Patient instructions: Patients should avoid hard or crunchy food, alcohol, brushing, and flossing for four hours.

My two cents: The mint flavor was very mild. There are several fun flavors to choose from, so it would be great for an office that sees lots of children.

To learn more, visit Voco's website.


UltraClear fluoride varnish by Water Pik

Formula: Contains 5% sodium fluoride sweetened with xylitol

Available flavors: Strawberry, bubblegum, melon, and mint

Color: Goes on clear and dries clear

Instructions for use: Remove excess moisture and apply a thin, smooth layer of varnish. Let the varnish dry for 20 seconds before the patient closes his or her mouth.

Packaging: Individual dose cups with brushes

Patient instructions: The patient should have only soft food and cold drinks and avoid brushing and flossing for four hours after treatment.

My two cents: This product is great because it dries thin and clear. Patients won’t have to worry about esthetics when they leave the office.

To learn more, visit Water Pik's website.


No matter which fluoride varnish you end up selecting for your office, I’d recommend trying it yourself, so you can give an honest opinion and speak from experience when applying it for your patients.


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 pearlmail@pennwell.com. You might just see it in the Hygiene Product Navigator! If you're not a Product Navigator subscriber, click here to sign up.


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.


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