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The varnish acts as a reservoir for the fluoride, which is slowly released for remineralization to occur into the dentinal tubules, thereby blocking dentinal fluid flow.
It is believed that cold stimulus causes contraction of the dentinal fluid within the dentinal tubules resulting in rapid outward flow of fluid within the patent tubules.
However, dentin displays constant moistness due to dentinal fluid. The development of adhesives that can be used in a moist environment was necessary for adhesion in dental tissue.