image of child having his teeth inspected


One of the services offered by the Oral Health Improvement team is the Fluoride Varnish programme. The programme aims to reduce tooth decay in children and includes an awareness session for parents and carers, and a session to support parents in signing the consent forms. Our oral health champions, who are trained in all aspects of oral health, will then apply four applications of fluoride varnish on to the child’s teeth over a two year period (once every six months). Fluoride varnish is a golden gel which is applied using a soft brush, it sets quickly and has a pleasant taste and fruity smell. The programme is targetted at specific schools across the district, where further support to tackle tooth decay may be needed. 

The programme is available for children between the age of two and four years and is delivered in various places across the district including children’s centres, nurseries, early years and schools.

For oral health advice including fluoride in toothpastes please visit our oral health improvement ‘Stay Well’ pages.

What is fluoride varnish?

Fluoride varnish is a gel which can help protect teeth from decay by making the tooth surface stronger. Painting fluoride varnish on teeth twice a year and regular daily toothbrushing with a fluoride toothpaste, can help to prevent tooth decay.

What does fluoride varnish look like?

It is a golden gel that is painted on to teeth, tastes pleasant and sets quickly. It wears off with brushing and eating.

Who can have fluoride varnish on the programme?

Children aged 3 to 4 years 

Can my child eat before the fluoride varnish application?

Yes, we advise that, if possible , a meal is eaten before the fluoride varnish application.

How is fluoride varnish applied and who will apply it?

The Oral Health Champions will check your child’s teeth and using a small brush will paint on the fluoride varnish.

Can I be present when fluoride varnish is applied?

Yes. The oral health champions are happy for you to be there if you feel this would make things easier for your child. 

Can my child eat after the fluoride varnish application ?

We advise no food or drink for at least 30 minutes, and ideally for up to 4 hours  after the fluoride varnish application.

Can my child have too much fluoride?

There is no evidence that fluoride varnish causes health problems.

My religious beliefs do not allow consumption of alcohol

Duraphat fluoride varnish is a medicine which contains a small amount of ethanol. The West Midlands Shari’ah Council has advised that they approve the application of fluoride varnish to children’s teeth.

Toothbrushing advice:

  • For children 3 years and under brush teeth twice a day with a smear of fluoride toothpaste containing no less than 1350 ppm –1500ppm fluoride.
  • For children aged between 3 and 6 years brush teeth twice a day using a pea sized amount of family fluoride toothpaste containing 1350-1500ppm fluoride.
  • Encourage your child to spit out, but not rinse their mouth with water after brushing.
  • Do not give children more toothpaste if they eat the paste from the brush.

 We will not apply the varnish if…

  • Your child has a sore mouth or is unwell.
  • Your child has severe asthma or allergies that have meant a stay in hospital.

Where can I get more information?

The Oral Health Improvement team will be able to answer any questions you may have. If you are at all worried please ask the oral health champions for further information.

You can call the Oral Health Improvement team: Tel: (01274) 259084 or 259085

Or email:

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