Fluoride has demonstrated its use in assisting caries prevention in children. Over the years, it has evolved and has current modalities for adults as well. Fluoride options include systemic uptake via water and foods, and by topical applications such as gels, foams, varnishes, dentifrices, and mouth rinses. The highest levels of fluoride are stored on the tooth surface. Topical applications are most successful if they have a high fluoride release and fluoride uptake. Traditionally the tray method has been in use in dental offices since the 1940’s. More current application of fluoride includes a fluoride varnish method which uses a less amount of fluoride per application than the tray method. Varnish sets quickly and remains on the teeth releasing fluoride hours after it has been applied. Candidates for topical fluoride include patients with orthodontics, restorations, and exposed root surfaces, thus an adult population can benefit from fluoride. The use and ease of a fluoride varnish is a universal and modern approach to treating caries risk in children and adults.
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