Fluoride can lower cavities in children and adults, and help repair tooth decay in the early stages even before decay is visible.
Many people benefit from fluoride in community water supplies. Scientific evidence overwhelmingly states that fluoridation is a safe, effective way to reduce tooth decay by 20 to 40 percent. In fact, it’s “the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health over a lifetime,” a former U.S. surgeon general said.
Drinking fluids − water, soft drinks, and juice − accounts for about 75 percent of fluoride intake in the United States, according to the American Dentist Hygienists Association. Be aware that your bottled water may not contain fluoride.
Other fluoride facts:
Children and adults at low risk of dental decay can stay cavity-free through frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride. Two of the best sources are drinking fluoridated water, and using a fluoride toothpaste twice daily.
Those at high risk of dental decay may benefit from additional fluoride products such as dietary supplements, mouth rinses, and professionally applied gels. Talk with your dentist.
Children under age 6 can develop white spots on their teeth if they ingest more fluoride than needed. Monitor brushing, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the brush, and teach them not to swallow the paste.