Understanding Fluoride

Keep your Child’s Mouth Healthy with Fluoride

Fluoride is important for you and your child.
Fluoride prevents cavities!

Fluoride is a common element found on the earth’s crust. It is found in soil and in fresh and ocean waters. Fluoride is thought of as nature’s way to fight cavities. It helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making teeth strong and more resistant to decay. Dentists and scientists have known for more than half a century that fluoride strengthens teeth, prevents cavities, and is safe to use.

How to Care for Your Child’s Mouth with Fluoride Drink Tap Water.
  • Fluoride is added to the public water supply (tap water) to make teeth strong and help prevent cavities. The fluoride in water prevents tooth decay just like the fluoride in toothpaste. Drinking water that contains fluoride helps protect teeth from decay. Maryland residents are lucky because 94% of households served by the public water supply receive fluoridated water.
  • Most bottled water does not contain fluoride. It is healthier and less expensive to fill a container with tap water than to purchase bottled water. You can still reap the benefits of fluoridated water if you filter your tap water, as most household filters will not remove fluoride.
  • If your water is not fluoridated and you want to make sure your child is getting appropriate amounts of fluoride to prevent tooth decay, talk to your dentist or physician who can prescribe a fluoride vitamin for your child in the form of drops or tablets. If your child’s teeth need more fluoride to stay healthy, a dentist can prescribe it in the form, or stronger toothpaste and mouth rinse.
Brush with Fluoride Toothpaste
  • Brush teeth twice a day (especially before bed) with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Most common toothpaste brands have fluoride, but it is best to check the ingredients to make sure.
  • For infant care, once your baby’s teeth come in, brush them with a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day, every day, especially before bed.
Visit the dentist.
  • Your child should have regular dental visits twice a year. Ask the dentist if your child is getting enough fluoride. Your child may need more fluoride and the dentist can prescribe a fluoride vitamin for your child in the form of drops or tablets. If your child’s teeth need more fluoride to stay healthy, a dentist can prescribe fluoride in a stronger toothpaste or mouth rinse.

For more information on fluoride, visit: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/fluoride