Facts About Fluoride
You eat a well-balanced diet, and your family does too. You brush regularly. You floss every day. You see your dentist every six months. You’ve got your bases covered, right?
Maybe. Maybe not. Fluoride, a natural element present in certain foods and water sources, is vital for strong, decay resistant teeth. If you’re lucky, you’re one of the 144 million Americans who benefit from the fluoridation of their drinking water. If not, you may need to take extra steps to make sure you ingest the proper amounts of this decay fighter.
Consider the facts.
- Water fluoridation, which began in 1945, is the most cost-effective method for preventing tooth decay.
- Fluoridation has played a major role in the reduction of tooth decay — 40 - 70 percent fewer cavities in children and 40 - 60 percent fewer cavities in adults.
- Young children’s teeth need fluoride to help harden the tooth enamel and make it more resistant to decay. In adults, fluoride can repair the early stages of tooth decay before it can create noticeable problems.
- If there’s not enough fluoride in your water supply—community or well—you should ask your dentist how you and your family can get the proper amount of fluoride. He or she might prescribe a daily fluoride supplement to ensure your children get adequate amounts of fluoride.
- Toothpaste, mouthrinses and professionally applied fluoride treatments are all examples of direct applications of fluoride.
- The cost of water fluoridation for a lifetime of protection costs approximately $41, less than it costs to fill just one cavity.
Think of fluoride as your secret weapon. It’s the key to good dental health. But like any team player, it can’t offer you full protection by itself. You need to back it up with regular bushing, flossing, and of course, regular visits to your MDA dentist.
Michigan Dental Association fact sheet.