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Fluoride: Nature's Cavity Fighter

Cavities that are not treated can cause pain, loss of teeth, and spread of infection. The good news is you can prevent most cavities with good dental care and fluoride.

This brochure explains how fluoride helps keep teeth strong and healthy.

What's fluoride?

Why is important?

Fluoride (FLOOR-eyed) is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources - even the oceans.

Fluoride can prevent cavities in children and adults. Fluoride helps protect tooth enamel from the acid attacks that cause cavities.

It also helps repair weakened enamel before cavities form.

What is the best way to get fluoride?

Teeth get fluoride in two ways: when it is swallowed and when it is put onto the tooth's

surface. To prevent cavities, it is best to get a little bit of fluoride both ways.

Fluoride that is swallowed usually comes from tap water. In some parts of the USA, the tap water naturally has just the right amount of fluoride. In other places, the tap water does not have enough fluoride.

So some cities and towns add fluoride to the tap water.

This is called "water fluoridation." If your community's water does not have enough fluoride, talk to your dentist or doctor about your family's fluoride needs.

Bottled water

Most bottled waters do not have the levels of fluoride needed to help prevent cavities. If you drink bottled water frequently, you may be missing the benefits of fluoridation. To learn about the fluoride level in the water, check the label. If it is not listed, then you should contact the bottler.

Home water treatment systems

Your home water filter system might remove fluoride from the water. Reverse osmosis and distillation units remove almost all of the fluoride. However, filters that come in pitchers or attach to your faucet generally do not remove a lot of fluoride. Check with

the product's company to learn if the filter or system removes fluoride from your drinking water.

Topical fluoride

When fluoride is put onto the surface of your teeth, it is called topical fluoride. Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses sold in stores that contain fluoride are one way for your teeth to get topical fluoride. Also, your dentist can apply fluoride gel or varnish to your teeth.

Not everyone lives in an area with fluoridated water. For those people, fluoride is available in other forms.

Fluoride supplements

Fluoride pills, drops, and lozenges are available only by prescription. They are

for children between 6 months and 16 years old who live in areas with little or no fluoride in the water and are at high risk of tooth decay. For best results, these fluoride products should be used every day until the child is 16 years old. Ask your child's dentist or physician about your child's fluoride needs.

Over-the-counter fluoride products

Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses with the ADA Seal of Acceptance help prevent cavities in children and adults. When you shop for dental products, look for the ADA Seal so you know that a product is safe and effective. Your teeth and those of your children should be brushed twice a day using a toothpaste that contains fluoride.


Book now an appointment with Dr. Terra

Call us at (562) 498-4200

Smile The Spa

The Best Cosmetic Dentistry in Long Beach (CA)

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