Fluoride gels are professionally applied or prescribed for home use under professional supervision. They are typically recommended for use twice per year, but are less frequently used in favor of fluoride varnish.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that the quality of evidence for using fluoride gel to prevent and control dental caries in children is Grade 1. Strength of recommendation is A, with targeted effort at populations at high risk for caries.
Varnish is a professionally applied, sticky resin of highly concentrated fluoride (up to 22,600 ppm).
In the United States, fluoride varnish has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a
cavity liner and root desensitizer, but not specifically as an anticaries agent.
An area of decay in a tooth .
For caries prevention, fluoride varnish is an off label product.
Application frequency ranges from 2 to 6 times per year.
The use of fluoride varnish leads to an average 33% reduction in decayed, missing, and filled tooth surfaces in the primary teeth and a 46% reduction in the permanent teeth.
The CDC concluded that the quality of evidence for using fluoride varnish to prevent
and control dental caries in children is Grade 1 and gave it
a strength of recommendation of A, with targeted effort at populations at high risk for dental caries.
View CDC Grading
View Quality of Evidence Table