Focus on Fluoride Varnish

Focus on Fluoride Varnish

The preventive effect of fluoride varnish has been the subject of numerous studies conducted over many years in children, adolescents and adults.[1],[2],[3] There are claims that fluoride varnish can substantially reduce the incidence of caries and even reduce the number of caries related hospitalisations. However, new research published in Caries Research in June 2019, has revealed some interesting information.


A systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness of fluoride varnish therapy in reducing the risk of developing new cavities and tooth decay-related hospitalizations was conducted with pre-school age children. After reviewing 20 past studies about the use of fluoride varnish, which included 13,650 children aged between 2 and 5 years, it was found that fluoride varnish resulted in caries on one fewer tooth surface per child who received treatment. At tooth level, no significant difference was observed between children that received fluoride varnish and those that did not. The meta-analysis showed the risk of developing new dentine caries lesions was reduced to 12 percent for children when fluoride varnish was applied. This was described as a ‘rather modest benefit’ as a large number of children developed new dentine caries lesions regardless of fluoride varnish use. The researchers found that in a population of pre-school children with 50% caries incidence, fluoride varnish must be applied in 17 children to avoid new caries in just one child. They concluded that applied fluoride through varnish made hardly any difference for the risk of developing new caries in children. Furthermore, no study reporting on caries-related hospitalisations was found.[4]


It may be argued that efforts are best devoted to the evidence-based approach to caries management. To support this and to revolutionise the way in which dental caries are managed, a team of cariologists and industry experts have developed the CALCIVIS® imaging system. This unique dental device uses a bioluminescent photoprotein to detect free calcium ions as they are released from actively demineralising tooth surfaces. By capturing this information as glowing images, the CALCIVIS® imaging system provides definitive evidence of the caries disease process at the very early stages (as the tooth enamel first begins to lose minerals). This means that preventive, non-invasive measures can be implemented to prevent further progression at a much earlier stage than has been previously possible.


The CALCIVIS® imaging system enables dental professionals to differentiate between carious and non-carious lesions but also it allows them to assess patients in terms of risk and accurately monitor the tooth surfaces for activity over time. The system also acts as a powerful educational and communication tool as the engaging images are displayed at the chair side. This personal information helps patients to understand their oral health status more effectively and empowers them to take the necessary preventive steps to avoid further disease progression.


For more information call on 0131 658 5152 or email at [email protected]



[1] Holm G.B. et al. The caries-preventive effect of a fluoride varnish in the fissures of the first permanent molar. Acta Odontol Scand. 1984 Aug;42(4):193-7. [Accessed 23rd July 2019]

[2] Marinho V.C.C et al. Fluoride varnishes for preventing dental caries in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD002279. [Accessed 23rd July 2019]

[3] Weyant R.J. et al. Topical fluoride for caries prevention. Executive summary of the updated clinical recommendations and supporting systematic review. J Am Dent Assoc. 2013 Nov; 144(11): 1279–1291. [Accessed 23rd July 2019]

[4] de Sousa F.S.O et al. Fluoride Varnish and Dental Caries in Pre-schoolers: A systemic review and meta-analysis. Caries Research. June 2019. [Accessed 23rd July 2019]

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