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Fluoride for Smiles

Drinking water with fluoride decreases the risk of tooth decay and cavities by 25% or more. It works in tandem with fluoride toothpaste, much like air bags add a layer of protection to wearing seat belts in cars. It’s a habit that leads to healthier smiles with little effort. And healthy smiles are an important part of overall health. Water with fluoride benefits people of all ages, but especially those who cannot see a dentist regularly. Is your community making sure everyone has access to the benefits of fluoridated water?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do teeth need fluoride?

A. Acid is produced inside of our mouths when we eat and drink. This acid can wear away the outer shell—or enamel—of our teeth. Fluoride protects teeth in two ways. Fluoride applied to the surface of teeth (from toothpaste or at the dentist’s office) is incorporated into the enamel, making teeth more resistant to decay. In childhood, fluoride in water protects teeth in a different way—from within. It’s a critical part of tooth formation for kids under 8.

Q. My kids brush with fluoride toothpaste. Why do I need to make sure their water has fluoride, too?

A. Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day is an excellent first step to preventing tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water adds a layer of protection against tooth decay, because teeth are bathed in small amounts of fluoride throughout the day. Studies conducted after widespread fluoride toothpaste use show that communities with fluoridated water have 20 to 40 percent less tooth decay than communities without access to water with fluoride.

Q. Does bottled water contain fluoride?

A. The majority of bottled waters on the market do not contain the optimal levels of fluoride. Drinking only bottled water could increase a person’s risk of tooth decay.

Q. Is drinking water with fluoride healthy?

A. Community water fluoridation is the single-most effective and safe public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Drinking water with fluoride is an important part of a healthy lifestyle because it helps prevent tooth decay throughout your life.