These days, most people understand that fluoride is an important part of reducing the occurrence of cavities and tooth decay, but they don’t necessarily understand why, and they don’t always know all of the sources of fluoride in their daily lives.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is present in varying amounts in water, soil, food, and even air.
Why is fluoride important?
Fluoride is present in tooth enamel. It’s a component that keeps the enamel mineralized, or “hard,” inhibiting the decay of teeth by acids caused by the breakdown of foods.
What are common sources of fluoride?
- Treatments received during regular dental visits – consult your dentist about recommended fluoride applications, particularly in children.
- Toothpastes and mouth rinses – these are available over the counter, although stronger concentrations may require a prescription.
- Drinking water – many communities add fluoride to tap water, but not all.
Your dentist is your best resource for additional information about fluoride. Certain people at higher risk for tooth decay may benefit from additional fluoride treatment.