Fluorides help reduce bacteria that cause cavities and make teeth more resistant to decay. Fluorides are added to some dental products.
Fluorides help maintain a healthy mouth. They strengthen teeth enamel and are a safe and efficient way of preventing cavities. They can also stop the development of a cavity, and in some cases, even help reverse tooth decay that has already started.
Fluoride is found in the following items:
- Fluoride toothpaste
- It is recommended that you use fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities and to strengthen teeth enamel. Fluoride toothpastes generally contain between 1,100 ppm and 1,500 ppm of fluoride
- In some cases, dentists may recommend use of a toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride (5,000 ppm of fluoride)
- Fluoride mouthwash
- Helps prevent cavities and even reverse tooth decays that have already started. However, using mouthwash does not replace brushing or flossing of teeth
- Fluoride supplements
- Fluoride supplements, in the form of pills or drops, can help prevent tooth decay. Only children who are at risk of getting cavities and who live in areas where the water is not fluoridated should take fluoride supplements. The exact dose of fluoride supplements depends of the child’s age and the quantity of fluoride in the water in the area in which they live. Parents must consult a dentist to find out if their child should take fluoride supplements
- Fluoridated water (in some municipalities)
- Drinking fluoridated water is the simplest and most effective way of preventing cavities. Fluoride can be naturally present in water. Water containing a sufficient amount of fluoride is known to have beneficial effects and helps prevent cavities. Some municipalities add fluoride to drinking water so that it contains the ideal quantity for preventing tooth decay. This process is called ‘water fluoridation’. Contact your municipality to find out if your water is fluoridated. To learn more, go to the Fluoridation of Drinking Water page.