Public Health school-based fluoride mouth rinse program update


HALIFAX, N.S. – Nova Scotia’s school-based public health fluoride program will move from a mouth rinse to a varnish at the start of the 2020 school year.

The change follows a program review conducted by Public Health. The fluoride varnish only requires two treatments per year instead of the suggested 26 treatments for mouth rinse, allowing for less class disruption.

“Oral health is a provincial priority for Public Health,” said Catherine Hebb, a director with Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) Public Health.

“We are excited to be moving toward a fluoride varnish that will increase efficiencies, allowing our team of dental hygienists more time to focus on other important areas of oral health, like water fluoridation and food insecurity.”

While the transition was planned for next year, an unanticipated national shortage of fluoride mouth rinse means Public Health will not be able to offer a school-based fluoride program this school year.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re faced with this unforeseen shortage, but this gives us the chance to readjust our delivery model in a way that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the program,” Hebb said.

The program is offered to students in 129 public schools in Nova Scotia, which is 38 per cent of elementary students from Grades Primary to 6. Schools are targeted based on populations that can benefit the most from the program.

More information on program rollout will follow as details become available.

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NSHA Provincial Media Line: 1-844-483-3344

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Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) provides health services to Nova Scotians and a wide array of specialized services to Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians. NSHA operates hospitals, health centres and community-based programs across the province. Our team of health professionals includes employees, doctors, researchers, learners and volunteers. We work in partnership with community groups, schools, governments, foundations and auxiliaries and community health boards. Visit for more.