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Buh-bye sticky fluoride varnish: Recent fluoride varnish products help boost patient compliance

May 25, 2016
Recent fluoride varnish products help boost patient compliance

By Amber Auger, RDH, MPH

Clinical studies continue to confirm the power of a fluoride application, demonstrating a 50% to 70% decrease of tooth decay.1 Utilization of a fluoride varnish is more effective due to the higher concentration and the ability of the varnish to adhere to the tooth surface more effectively.2 Studies conducted by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) have shown the higher concentration remains effective on the tooth surface for one to seven days compared to the 10 to 15 minutes of a topical tray fluoride application.2

Fluoride varnishes have the ability stop early tooth decay from progressing, turning an incipient lesion into an arrested lesion.1 Fluoride is essential for patients with cold sensitivity, a high rate of decay, orthodontics, and dry mouth. In addition, children, patients without access to systemic fluoride, and geriatric patients also derive benefits.2 Contraindications for fluoride varnishes include pine nut allergies.1 Patients should avoid crunchy food or hot liquids, and avoid brushing for at least two hours after application.1

In order to increase compliance with a professional fluoride varnish application, it is essential to provide a fluoride treatment without a sticky feeling, yellow appearance, or horrible taste.

Vella fluoride varnish (Preventech) is clear and applies smoothly, which enables the patient to keep the varnish on longer.3 Vella's active ingredients include a patented combination of fluoride, calcium, and phosphate called NuFluor, as well as xylitol. The 5% sodium fluoride has an uptake of two hours.4

The great-tasting varnish is available in five popular flavors, including strawberry, melon, spearmint, bubble gum, and caramel. Their new Vella Mini comes in a compule pack that's easier to apply using the back-of-the-glove technique, which is perfect for squirmy-worm younger patients.

Other varnishes to keep in mind are:

  • 3M Vanish 5% sodium fluoride white varnish (3M ESPE) contains tri-calcium phosphate, which is an exclusive calcium and phosphate ingredient known as TCP.5 TCP has been shown to help remineralize enamel that has been destroyed in bacterial action.5 Vanish reinforces the importance of fluoride varnish treatments for root sensitivity.
  • Profluorid varnish (Voco) is white and transparent for a natural appearance and increased compliance. The varnish adheres well with saliva within seconds of application. The easy-to-tear packaging includes an application brush in its single dose delivery system.6 Profluorid varnish offers four flavors, including lemon, caramel, cherry, and mint.

Using the latest varnish fluoride products increases patient compliance. Varnish technology has allowed clinicians to offer smoother, highly concentrated clear varnish treatments. Varnishes allow clinicians to apply the fluoride treatments more effectively as the uptake is more immediate and long-lasting. Clinicians can request samples to determine which varnish they prefer. RDH

Amber Auger, RDH, MPH, practices dental hygiene in Boston. She has master's in public health and is a faculty member at Mount Ida College. She is also an advisor for Jameson Management. She can be contacted at [email protected].


1. ADA. Fluoride Facts. Available at: http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Member%20Center/FIles/fluoridation_facts.ashx. Accessed April 3, 2015.
2.ASTDD. Fluoride Varnish: an Evidence-Based Approach Research Brief. Available at: http://www.astdd.org/docs/Sept2007FINALFlvarnishpaper.pdf. Accessed April 3, 2016
3.Preventech. Vella 5% Fluoride Varnish. Available at: http://preventech.com/vella/. Accessed April 3, 2016.
4. Preventech. Vella Mini Varnish. Available at: http://preventech.com/product/vellamini-5-fluoride-varnish/. Accessed April 5, 2016.
5. 3M. Varnish Sodium Fluoride White Varnish with Tri-Calcium Phosphate.
6. Vocco. Profluorid Varnish. Available at: http://www.voco.com/us/product/voco_profluorid_varnish/index.html. April 3, 106.