Cavities, or tooth decay, used to be an accepted fact of life. But the
arrival of fluoridated drinking water and toothpaste have changed that. In communities
where fluoride has been added to the drinking water, children have up to 65% fewer
Fluoride is a natural mineral that safely strengthens tooth enamel (the
harder outer "shell" of your tooth) and helps stop cavities from forming. Adults
as well as children benefit from it. Fluoride can be found in many foods, community water
supplies, and some mouthwashes. Your dentist can tell you if your child is getting enough,
or whether a fluoride supplement, in drops or tablet form, should be taken.
For extra protection, you and your family could use a mouthrinse that
contains fluoride. Ask your dentist how much fluoride is right for you and your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find out if my drinking water contains fluoride?
If your water comes from a community (public) water supply, call your
local water district and ask if the water is fluoridated. If your water comes from a
private well, you can have it analyzed by an independent environmental testing company
that provides water testing service.
How much fluoride is enough to help prevent cavities?
If your drinking water is fluoridated, appropriate use of a fluoride
toothpaste is usually considered enough for adults and children. If your water does not
contain fluoride, then your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe a fluoride supplement,
in drops or tablet form, for your child. Only your dentist can tell you how much fluoride
is right for you and your family so be sure to ask for his advice.