Fluoride is in our toothpaste, it is bottled into every imaginable flavor, and it’s part of most dental check-ups. Fluoride is “swished” in many grad schools and recommended for patients of all ages. What exactly is fluoride, and how does it protect teeth?

What is fluoride?

  • Fluoride is a trace element found in the Earth’s crust and also within many foods and water – in various concentrations
  • A small portion of the mineral is found in humans and mammals – primarily in the bones and teeth

When did humans discover the oral health benefits of fluoride?

  • Fluoridation began in 1945 in Lake Rapids, Michigan – the first U.S. city to fluoridate its water supply
  • Today 42 U.S. cities have public water fluoridation, which involves adding one part per million to the water supply
  • Water fluoridation has proven to significantly reduce tooth decay

How does fluoride protect teeth?

  • Fluoride distributes lost minerals back into the tooth’s enamel
  • Since sugars and acids wear down the enamel fluoride helps to restore that protective barrier to the surface of the teeth
  • Topical fluoride found in toothpastes, mouth rinses and fluoride treatments are an important defense against tooth decay

Is tooth decay still considered a serious problem?

  • Yes – tooth decay is the most common oral health concern for people of all ages and can lead to serious health concerns if not treated and prevented

At what age should fluoride be first administered?

  • It is important that infants and children between the ages of 6 and 16 years be exposed to fluoride, especially when primary teeth erupt

Are there any dangers in ingesting too much fluoride?

  • The body can only handle fluoride in small amounts and it should never be ingested or swallowed
  • In concentrated form fluoride is toxic and even potentially lethal

How can I find out more about fluoride and protecting my child from tooth decay?

  • Please feel free to come to us with any questions! Your child’s oral health is our number one priority and we will do our best to ensure you and your child are happy and comfortable with the care we provide.


Feel free to call our office to schedule an appointment today (716)332-2444!