Healthy Communities

Fluoride Varnish

Fluoride Varnish 

image of child getting teeth examinedFluoride varnish is a protective medication painted on teeth to help prevent new tooth decay from forming and to slow the progression of demineralized surfaces from further damage. Fluoride varnish has been shown to have a 38% reduction in tooth decay in children who are at moderate to high risk for decay. 

According to the CDC and the American Dental Association, the quality of evidence for the efficacy of fluoride varnish in preventing and controlling tooth decay is HIGH. Both organizations along with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend fluoride varnish.


ACT 90

Despite advancements in water fluoridation, patient education and the dental workforce, an increase in childhood tooth decay still exists. In response, the United States Preventive Services Task Force proposed the application of fluoride varnish by medical providers. In 2011, the Arkansas legislature passed ACT 90 allowing Arkansas physicians, nurses, and other licensed health care professionals in addition to dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants to apply and get reimbursed for fluoride varnish. Medical providers can serve as the first line of defense against cavities since they tend to see children more often and sooner than dentists.

Here’s a video on how fluoride varnish is applied at a well-child visit.


Paint A Smilepaint a smile

The Office of Oral Health has developed a program called Paint A Smile to introduce fluoride varnishes to medical personnel in Arkansas. This is an ideal time for medical personnel to perform oral risk assessments, apply fluoride varnish, and encourage the caregivers to connect with a dental home for routine dental care. The program goals are to:

  1. Close the gaps that exist for children who do not have regular access to comprehensive dental care
  2. Reduce the risk of dental caries
  3. Initiate a referral to a dental home
  4. Educate caregivers about tooth decay and prevention


Fluoride Varnish Training

To start applying fluoride varnish in your office please contact us HERE to schedule a free, on-site training with one of our knowledgeable Smile Ambassadors. This training will provide your office with:

ACT 90
Cavity Prevention Trifold | Spanish
Cavity Prevention Flyer | Spanish

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
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4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867 | 1-800-462-0599