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Can pregnant or breastfeeding women have fluoride varnish ?

One of my patients has cavities very easily. Due to the high risk of caries she usually returns every 3 months for her hygiene appointment. She tries to do good oral home care, but cavities are always found whenever she returns. It is frustrating for her and me. She uses Act mouthwash daily, and her oral hygiene status is fair. However, it seems it doesn’t help. I started to apply Varnish last time and it was her trimester. I am going to see her in 3 months and apply Varnish again.
As far as I know, Varnish can be applied up to 4 times a year for high risk of caries. However, I am not sure if it is safe to apply Varnish for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

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1 Answer

According to Esther Wilkins (Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist) in the chapter on pregnant patients, “All patients can benefit from a topical application of fluoride solution, gel, varnish.” The FDA has categorized fluoride varnish as category B meaning, “Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.” However, I have found contradicting recommendations online; some sites say it’s okay, some say not. I would check the particular brand of varnish’s leaflet in the “contraindications” section. You can even call the manufacturer/company of the varnish you are using to find recommendations based on their product specifically if it’s not clear in the leaflet/instructions.

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