Fluoride for Stronger Teeth
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral compound found in water, soil, and numerous foods. It is also used in many dental products to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the outer tooth surface more resistant to acid attacks from the bacteria that live in the plaque on your teeth.
Benefits of Fluoride
Fluoride is beneficial to teeth because it can reverse the early signs of tooth decay.
Fluoride Dental products and varnish
Adding Fluoride to your oral health routine will help prevent tooth decay.
Fluoride in H20
Fluoride builds a foundation for healthy teeth.
Is My Water Fluoridated?
Fluoride is essential for healthy teeth.
What are the benefits of Fluoride?
Fluoride is one of the most powerful minerals to help prevent tooth decay. Our mouths naturally contain bacteria that when combined with sugars and carbohydrates we eat and drink, acid is produced. That acid attacks and breaks down the minerals in your tooth enamel and damages teeth.
Fluoride works to strengthen the structure of the tooth enamel and protects teeth from acid damage, and makes them more resistant to cavities. Fluoride helps to re-mineralize tooth surfaces (adding minerals such as calcium back into your teeth), which aids in repairing early decay before a cavity forms in the tooth.
Fluoride in Dental Products and Varnish
Fluoride is an important building block for tooth enamel that helps keep teeth strong and resistant to cavities and is added to dental products to improve dental health.
Many of the benefits can be achieved topically. There are multiple ways to increase fluoride protection: topical (toothpaste, mouthwash, and varnish) and systemic applications (tablets and water).
Toothpaste & Mouth Rinses
- Use a toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride. Always choose a toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, which is a designation given to products with the recommended concentration of fluoride.
- Brush twice a day or as directed by your dentist and physician.
- Use the correct amount of fluoride toothpaste for your child’s age. Children younger than 3 years use no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. For children 3 to 6 years old, use no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Swallowing of toothpaste and other dental products with fluoride increases the risk of fluorosis.
A potential risk of too much fluoride can lead to the development of Dental Fluorosis. This condition is caused by an increased intake of fluoride during tooth development. Fluorosis changes the appearance of your tooth enamel, causing white spots or white streaks on your teeth. This condition is mainly a cosmetic outcome and doesn’t cause pain or affect your overall health.
Tooth decay is one of the most common preventable diseases in children. Fluoride varnish is safe, helps strengthen teeth, and provides extra protection against cavities. Children who are at risk for dental decay or do not live in a community with fluoridated water greatly benefit from the application of fluoride varnish to their teeth.
What is fluoride varnish?
Fluoride varnish is a sticky resin of highly concentrated fluoride which is applied to the tooth’s surface to prevent tooth decay. Varnish strengthens enamel and can prevent the progression of tooth decay or white spots.
How is it applied?
Fluoride varnish can be applied by your dentist, hygienist, or school oral health program staff. Applying fluoride varnish is simple and only takes a few minutes to apply. A thin layer of varnish is painted on the teeth with a small brush. The sticky coating dries quickly and hardens once it comes in contact with saliva.
Water is safe to drink after application.
How long does fluoride varnish last?
The benefits of fluoride varnish can last several months. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends fluoride varnish be reapplied 3 to 5 times per year for the best protection.
Ask your dentist about dental sealants. Fluoride varnish can be done for both children and adults.
Fluoride Varnish Brochure
Fluoride supplements can offer protection against tooth decay for infants, children and adults who are at high risk for tooth decay and whose primary drinking water has low fluoride concentrations. Fluoride supplements such as lozenges, tablets and drops are available by prescription only. Talk to your dentist or healthcare provider about your child's specific fluoride needs.
Fluoride in Drinking Water
Water fluoridation is an effective and inexpensive means of obtaining the fluoride necessary to prevent tooth decay. Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the fluoride content of fluoride-deficient water to the recommended level for optimal dental health.
To see if your community’s water is fluoridated, you can view your water system on the CDC’s My Water’s Fluoride website.
To see a full list of fluoridated water system by County, visit: The California Water Boards website.
If your city doesn’t fluoridate its water and you’re interested in the dental health benefits of fluoride, try:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Using a fluoride mouthwash once a day (not recommended for children under 6 years of age)
- Talking to your doctor about fluoride treatments
For additional information on Fluoride and Water Fluoridation, visit:
- ADA Mouth Healthy
- The American Dental Association's Fluoride and Fluoridation website
- Campaign for Dental Health
- CDC Fluoride