What is fluoride?
- Fluoride is a natural occurring mineral found in the earth's crust.
Benefits of fluoride
- Children and adults often get cavities (dental caries), which can be unsightly, painful, and expensive to treat.
- With the help of fluoride, the cavity process can be slowed or stopped and often reversed.
- During the cavity process, the tooth enamel becomes weak (demineralization) due to the acids from cavity-causing bacteria.
- Once exposed to fluoride, enamel gets strong again (remineralization) and fluoride prevents cavities from occurring and/or getting larger.
Sources of fluoride
- Water fluoridation is an excellent source of fluoride. It is the most cost-effective method for the delivery of fluoride in communities in the United States.
- In fact, community water fluoridation has been recognized by the Surgeon General as one of "10 Great Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century".
- Because naturally-occurring levels of fluoride vary within the United States, fluoride often has to be added to achieve the recommended optimal concentration for cavity prevention.
- The national recommended level of fluoride concentration in drinking water by the U.S. Public Health Service is 0.7 mg/L.
Other Sources of Fluoride
- Other important sources include dental products, such as toothpastes, mouthrinses, and office-based fluoride treatments (varnish, gel, or foam).
- Commercial foods and beverages, like soda (pop) and juices also can contain fluoride.