Markham Dental Smiles
4630 Hwy 7 #2 Unionville ON L3R 1M5 (905) 477-6453

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Unionville, ON
(905) 477-6453

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How Long to Leave Fluoride Varnish on Teeth

Taking care of your teeth is an essential part of maintaining good overall health. One effective way to protect your teeth from cavities and damage is to use fluoride varnish, which can be applied during a routine checkup or cleaning. But how long should fluoride varnish be left on teeth?

Typically, a fluoride varnish can be left on teeth for anywhere from 6–24 hours, but the timing can vary depending on the type of varnish applied. During your treatment, your dentist can explain the process, let you know how long to leave the varnish on, and provide you with tips for caring for your teeth after the treatment.

What Is Fluoride Varnish?

Fluoride varnish is applied during a dental treatment that involves putting a thin layer of fluoride on the surface of your teeth. Fluoride varnish can help protect your teeth from decay, strengthen your enamel, and even reverse early signs of tooth decay.

Benefits of Fluoride Varnish for Dental Health

Fluoride varnish is a powerful tool in the fight against tooth decay. 

Here are some of the key benefits of this treatment:

  • Protects against tooth decay: Fluoride varnish is a highly effective way to protect your teeth against decay. By applying a thin layer of fluoride to the surface of your teeth, this treatment can make your teeth more resistant to harmful bacteria.
  • Strengthens enamel: Enamel is the hard, protective layer that covers your teeth. Over time, this layer can become weakened by acidic foods, drinks, and bacteria. Fluoride varnish can help strengthen your enamel and prevent it from breaking down.
  • Reverses early signs of decay: In some cases, fluoride varnish can even reverse early signs of tooth decay. When applied to teeth that have already begun to decay, fluoride varnish can help remineralize the enamel and stop the decay from progressing.
  • Safe, effective treatment: Fluoride varnish is a safe and straightforward treatment that can be done during your regular dental checkup. It doesn’t require any special equipment or anesthesia.

How Long Should Fluoride Varnish Be Left on Teeth?

The recommended time for leaving fluoride varnish on your teeth varies depending on the brand of the varnish used by your dentist. Typically, fluoride varnish should be left on your teeth for at least 6 hours after application. This allows the fluoride to penetrate the enamel and provide full protection against tooth decay.

It’s important not to eat, drink, or brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after fluoride varnish has been applied. This gives the varnish enough time to adhere properly to your teeth and start working.

While fluoride varnish is generally safe when used as directed, leaving it on your teeth for too long can result in side effects, such as white spots on your teeth or an upset stomach if accidentally ingested. That’s why it’s essential to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully and not leave fluoride varnish on your teeth for longer than recommended.

An infographic to show how you can care for your teeth after a fluoride treatment.

How to Care for Your Teeth After Fluoride Treatment

After receiving a fluoride treatment, it’s essential to take care of your teeth to support the effects of the treatment and maintain good oral health. 

Here are some tips on how to care for your teeth after fluoride treatment:

  • Avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes: After a fluoride treatment, it’s recommended to avoid food and drinks, as well as rinse your mouth for at least 30 minutes to allow the fluoride to be absorbed by your teeth.
  • Don’t brush your teeth immediately: While you should avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes after a fluoride treatment, you should also wait to brush your teeth. Brushing your teeth or using mouthwash immediately after a fluoride treatment can remove the fluoride from your teeth and reduce its effectiveness.
  • Drink plenty of water: Drinking water is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. After a fluoride treatment, drink plenty of water throughout the day to help rinse away food particles and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

Can You Do a Fluoride Treatment at Home?

While fluoride treatments are traditionally done in a dental office, there are some fluoride products that can be used at home. However, it’s important to note that these at-home fluoride treatments are not as strong as the ones used in a dental office.

At-home fluoride treatments include fluoride toothpaste and over-the-counter fluoride rinses, such as mouthwashes or gels. Even some bottled water brands contain fluoride.

While these treatments can provide some benefits, they should not replace regular dental checkups and professional fluoride treatments. Professional fluoride treatments are more concentrated and can provide strong protection against tooth decay.

A female dentist in blue scrubs and a senior man sitting in a dentist's chair looking at a tablet.

Get a Professional Fluoride Treatment 

Fluoride varnish is a safe and effective way to protect your teeth from decay and strengthen your enamel. By following your dentist’s instructions carefully, you can get benefits from this treatment that can help you enjoy healthy, beautiful teeth for years to come.At Markham Dental Smiles, we’re committed to providing our patients with the information they need to make informed decisions about their oral health. If you have any questions about fluoride varnish or other dental treatments, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Visit Our Location

We would love to meet you at our Unionville office. We’re located on Highway 7, right next to the Shopper’s Drug Mart.


Markham Dental Smiles
4630 Hwy 7 #2
Unionville, ON, L3R 1M5

Contact Number

Phone: (905) 477-6453
Email: [email protected]


Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Wednesday: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Thursday: 10:00AM - 2:30PM
Friday: 10:00AM - 6:00PM
Saturday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Sunday: Closed