Fluoride is a mineral found in nature. It makes the hard outer layer of teeth (called enamel) stronger. When the outer layer is strong, teeth are less likely to get cavities.
Children get fluoride in 4 ways:
- In the water
- In fluoride treatments
- In fluoride toothpaste
- In fluoride supplements (pills they chew or in a mouthwash form)
Adding fluoride to the water is the best way to provide fluoride protection to a large number of people at a low cost. That’s why many towns and cities put fluoride in the water. Fluoride is also in most toothpaste.
If you live somewhere that does NOT put fluoride in the water AND you dentist thinks your child is likely get cavities, he or she may suggest that your child have a bit of fluoride every day. This is called a fluoride supplement. The amount your dentist suggests will depend on:
To give your child even MORE protection against cavities, your dentist may suggest a fluoride treatment. It is given when your child has a check-up.