The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics logoLink to University of Iowa home pageLink to College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics home page

  college of dentistry mission graphic

Fluoride

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

  • 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.