Fluoride Action Network



  • Different fluoride varnishes exhibit different biological effects and cytotoxicity on human gingival fibroblasts.
  • hGFs show better biocompatibility after exposition to Fixofluor and Duraphat.
  • In vitro investigations are required in order to compare the fluoride varnishes biological properties.


To compare the in vitro cytotoxicity of four commercial topical fluoride varnishes widely used in daily dental practice for the prevention of caries on human fibroblasts: Cervitec F, Fixofluor, Fluor Protector S and Duraphat.

Material and methods

Human gingival fibroblasts (hGF) were exposed to different concentrations of fluoride varnishes extracts. Biological assays, including MTT and IC50 value determination, annexin-V/7-AAD staining, cell migration and F-actin staining with phalloidin were carried out. Statistical analyses were performed using one-way ANOVA and Tukey’s post hoc test.


At 4% concentration, all of the fluoride varnishes extracts affected fibroblasts metabolic activity, exhibiting a high degree of cytotoxicity at all measured time points. At 0.1% and 1%, Duraphat and Fixofluor or Fluor Protector S and Cervitec F exerted the lowest or highest cytotoxic effects, respectively. Similar effects were evidenced when induction of apoptosis/necrosis and cell migration assays were analyzed. Immunocytochemical assays revealed a similar number of fibroblasts, without changes in the morphology and F-actin content at 0.1% concentration of all tested materials, while at 1% concentration, Fluor Protector S and Cervitec F showed few cells with aberrant morphology or non-adhered cells, respectively.


Different commercial topical fluoride varnishes with the same therapeutic indication may exhibit different biological effects and cytotoxicity on fibroblasts.

*Original abstract online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0940960221000492