Role of fluoride varnish in preventing early childhood caries: A systematic review

Poulami Mishra, Nusrath Fareed, Hemant Battur, Sanjeev Khanagar, Manohar A. Bhat, Jagan Palaniswamy


Background: Early childhood caries is a public health problem that continues to affect babies and preschool children worldwide. This untreated caries process results in progressive destruction of the crowns of the teeth, often accompanied by severe pain and suffering, affecting the quality of life. Fluoride varnish which is one of the most important materials to prevent ECC is easy to apply and well tolerated by children. This study aimed to evaluate the scientific evidence regardingthe role of fluoride varnish in preventing early childhood caries.
Materials and Methods: Records were searched from various databases such as PubMed/Medline, Cochrane, and EMBASE. Articles published over the past 36 years (1979-2015) were identified using the key search terms. A total of 190 records were identified by title/abstracts/full text articles and
were retrieved. Potentially relevant reports identified from the reference lists of relevant studies, review articles and chapters were hand‑searched, which yielded an additional 10 articles. The
main outcome of our investigation was prevention of early childhood caries following application of fluoride varnish and unavoidable fluoride exposure. Out of 190 articles originally identified, 30 records were considered potentially eligible and sought for further assessment. 17 articles met the
inclusion criteria and these studies were assessed independently for methodology and performance.
Results: Analysis of literature revealed that basically two concentrations of fluoride varnishes have been used: 1% and 5%, with a caries preventive fraction ranges of 6.4-30% and 5-63%, respectively.
Conclusion: The results showed that fluoride varnishes have been used at concentrations of 1% and 5% in the prevention of ECC. The preventive fraction was influenced by the frequency of
application, the duration of study and sample size. The evidence level of the studies was of moderate
to limited value.
Key Words: Early childhood caries, fluoride varnish, prevention

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