Fluoride is an important mineral that is absorbed into and strengthens tooth enamel through a process called “remineralization”. This remineralization repairs damage caused by decay and prevent future decay.
In nearly every U.S. community, public drinking supplies are supplemented with sodium fluoride because the practice is acknowledged as safe and effective in fighting cavities. Simply drinking public water will provide a certain measure of fluoride protection. However, with the prevalence of bottled water, fewer people consume water with fluoride than in previous years, so health professionals recommend supplementing that intake. Most toothpastes and some mouth rinses, also contain fluoride.
Today, most children will receive fluoride treatments during their dental visits. This concentrated fluoride is applied to the teeth with a small brush and will remain on teeth throughout the day or until the next brushing. As it is absorbed, this will strengthen the enamel and make teeth more resistant to decay.