Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in water as well as many foods. In community water supplies, fluoride is usually added to the water because it helps prevent tooth decay.
Fluoride works by making the teeth more resistant to the acids in foods and sugary drinks that eat away at tooth enamel.
The first community to add fluoride to its water was Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1945. The practice has been hailed by the CDC as one of the 20th century’s 10 great achievements in public health. Now, more than 74% of the population drinks fluoridated water.
- In addition to drinking fluoridated water, the ADA recommends children brush their teeth with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Along with the fluoride your child gets from water and toothpaste, our pediatric dentists may recommend fluoride treatments to further protect his or her teeth from decay. These come in several forms: they can be applied in the dental office, your child can use a mouthwash that contains fluoride, or the dentist can provide a fluoride supplement.
- Of course, your child is more likely to need a fluoride treatment if your water does not have added fluoride.
- You can contact your local water company to find out how much, if any, fluoride is in your water.
- If you drink well water, have it tested to determine the fluoride levels in your water.
- The optimal level for preventing tooth decay is 0.7 milligrams per liter.
- It’s also important to be sure your child isn’t getting too much fluoride, as it can lead to a condition called fluorosis, in which the tooth enamel becomes blotchy.
Receiving the optimal amount of fluoride can help your child avoid painful and expensive tooth decay, so make it a priority to find out how much fluoride your child is getting.