Fluoride helps protect teeth by making the tooth surface harder and thus, helping to prevent cavities. Fluoride can be found in drinking water, toothpaste and certain types of mouthwashes.
Adding fluoride to your drinking water is one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods of protecting children and adults from tooth decay. Not certain about the fluoride levels in your water system? Just ask your dentist. If you find your water does not contain fluoride, your dentist may recommend prescribing fluoride tablets or drops for you and your family to help protect your teeth from cavities.
Try drinking fluoridated water every day to help minimize your and your family's intake of sugary beverages like soft drinks, which can increase the risk of tooth decay. And while drinking bottled water may seem convenient and healthy, bottled water does not include fluoride, so be sure to think about the benefits of fluoride you'll be missing when you choose bottled water over the tap.
Toothpastes containing fluoride help prevent cavities in both children and adults. You should always supervise your children when they're brushing their teeth. Moreover, children under the age of six should only use a pea-size dab of toothpaste when it contains fluoride.
Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash that contains fluoride is another way to help protect you and your family from cavities. Many brands of mouthwash now contain fluoride in their product lineup.
Other Ways to Fight Cavities
- Sealants placed on teeth
- Sugar-free foods and drinks
- Daily brushing and flossing (especially after eating)
- Regular visits to the dentist