Fluoride Facts

The dental community supports the fact that fluoride is an important mineral that’s absorbed into and strengthens tooth enamel. The end result? It helps prevent decay of tooth structures.

Almost all U.S. communities, supplement their public drinking supplies with sodium fluoride because the practice is a safe and deterrent and effective in fighting cavities. Some private wells may contain naturally fluoridated water.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a compound that consists of the element fluorine. Fluorine is found in water, soil, air and food. Fluoride in our drinking water can be absorbed easily into tooth enamel. That’s especially true in the growing teeth of children. This process works to reduce tooth decay.

Why is fluoride important to teeth?

When fluoride is absorbed into structures, they become stronger and more resistant to fractures and decay, which is the case with bones and teeth. There is a natural process that takes place in your body called "remineralization." It uses fluoride to repair any damage that is caused by decay.

How do I get fluoride?

Drinking your public water provides fluoride protection. Health professionals have supported supplementing our intake with certain dietary products. They also recommend topical fluorides found in many toothpastes and certain kinds of rinses. Beverages like tea and soda may contain fluoride as well. In addition, there are dental varnishes and gels, which can be applied directly to teeth and they boost fluoride intake.

Fluoride Safety

When using topical fluoride, caution should always be applied. It isn’t safe to swallow toothpastes, rinses, or other products. There are cases where some people could be overexposed to high concentrations of fluoride. The result of such exposure is a condition called fluorosis. It’s harmless but leaves dark enamel stains on teeth.