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Varnish! Michigan Free Fluoride Varnish Program for Medical Providers

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Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood.  The pain, suffering and costs of treating primary teeth for dental decay are preventable.

By performing a caries risk assessment, anticipatory guidance and applying fluoride varnish as soon as the primary teeth erupt much of the Early Childhood Caries (ECC) process can be prevented. 

Medicaid is reimbursing medical providers for providing oral screenings and applying fluoride varnish to their 0-5 age child patients.  Physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are recognized Medicaid billable medical providers for these two oral health services.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, through the Varnish! Michigan Program, will supply free fluoride varnish as a start-up incentive through an agreement with the agency and MDHHS, to medical providers to use on this age group with special consideration for children 0-3 yrs. Oral screening data will be collected by the agency for MDHHS use for as long as free varnish is supplied.

Objectives of the Varnish! Michigan Program:

  • To encourage medical providers to incorporate oral screenings and apply fluoride varnish to infant and toddler teeth during office visits.
  • Referral to a dental home by age 1 is indicated, especially for children in the high or moderate risk category.
  • Free fluoride varnish is to be supplied by MDHHS- Oral Health Unit as supply is available.  Training, education resources, and technical assistance will be provided free too, as long as the agency participates.
  • The online Smiles for Life Course: Caries Risk Assessment, Fluoride Varnish and Counseling is highly recommended before the Varnish! Michigan Program training.
  • The Varnish! Michigan Program training is required for physicians and other staff involved in the MDHHS fluoride varnish program. Please contact Heather Beavers at to arrange this training either in-person or virtually.
  • Medical provider agencies participating in the Varnish! Michigan Program will be required to collect certain oral screening data on each child fluoride varnish is applied. Quarter reports are mandatory and used for surveillance purposes for the state of Michigan.  This data will be used by MDHHS for the enhancement of future programs in Michigan.

Varnish! Michigan Program Information 2021

MDHHS-5950, Varnish! Michigan Contact Information

Varnish! Michigan 2020 Report 

If your agency is interested or you have questions, please contact: