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Fluoride is a mineral that can help maintain the enamel on your teeth and protect you from tooth decay. It is present in many brands of toothpaste, and in some regions it is added to the water supply. You can also increase your fluoride intake through various treatments, and children up to the age of 16 can benefit from fluoride by consuming fluoride-rich foods.

How Does Fluoride Help Teeth?

Fluoride stops acids from damaging teeth, therefore preventing cavities. Children can start benefiting from fluoride before their first teeth even erupt by consuming fluoride in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements. This allows fluoride to enter the bloodstream, strengthening teeth still beneath the gums. Fluoride can also help adults and children who already have permanent teeth by speeding up remineralization.

Fluoride Treatments

Professional applications
If you are at a high risk for cavities, your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment in the form of a gel, foam, or varnish. He or she will apply the treatment to your teeth during your regular checkups every six months.

If your community lacks sufficient fluoride in the drinking water, your dentist may prescribe a fluoride supplement. These are available for children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years.

Mouthwash and toothpaste
In addition to using toothpaste with at least 1350 ppm of fluoride, your dentist may recommend that you use a mouthwash containing fluoride daily. This is usually prescribed to adults and children over the age of 8 with tooth decay.