Fluoride is a mineral that can prevent tooth decay from progressing. It can even reverse, or stop, early tooth decay.
Fluoride works to protect teeth. It prevents mineral loss in tooth enamel and replaces lost minerals. It also reduces the ability of bacteria to make acid.
You can get fluoride by drinking fluoridated water from a community water supply. About 74 percent of Americans served by a community water supply system receive fluoridated water. (If you have well water, see “Private Well Water and Fluoride” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste is another important way to provide needed fluoride.
If the dentist thinks your child needs more fluoride, he or she may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to tooth surfaces; prescribe fluoride tablets; and/or recommend using a fluoride mouth rinse.
About Bottled Water: most bottled water does not contain enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay. If your child drinks only bottled water, talk with a dentist about whether your child needs additional fluoride in the form of a tablet, varnish, or gel.
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