Fluoride helps to keep your teeth healthy at any age. From the time you are a baby to your senior years, fluoride strengthens teeth and repairs damage caused by tooth decay acids. Healthy teeth are an important part of overall health. They let us speak, eat and feel good about ourselves.
Getting fluoride from different sources gives you the best protection from tooth decay. Brushing every day with fluoride toothpaste and drinking tap water with fluoride are great ways to get fluoride for a low cost. Professional fluoride treatments like varnish add extra protection. There are other sources of fluoride, but ask a dental professional before using them.
When you are thirsty, water is the best choice. Drinking tap water with fluoride provides daily protection from tooth decay. Almost half of all Albertans drink tap water with fluoride.
Most bottled water has no fluoride to protect teeth.
Choose a toothpaste with fluoride to prevent tooth decay. Look for a toothpaste that’s approved by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), and brush with it 2 times a day. After brushing, spit out the toothpaste but don’t rinse.
When your child gets their first tooth, start brushing their teeth with fluoride toothpaste. For children under 3 years, use an amount the size of a grain of rice. For children 3 years and older, use a pea-size amount. You need to put fluoride toothpaste on the brush for your child, and teach them to spit and not swallow it.
Fluoride varnish gives you extra protection against tooth decay. It can be painted on as soon as the first tooth appears. It takes a dental professional less than a minute to put fluoride varnish on teeth.
Fluoride is an important mineral that keeps teeth healthy. It’s found naturally in soil, air, and water. For healthy teeth, fluoride is added to some dental products and drinking water. Foods and drinks made with this water also have some fluoride.
Fluoride works every day to keep teeth strong and healthy. Bacteria in the mouth mix with sugars from foods and drinks to make acids. These acids weaken teeth causing tooth decay. Fluoride helps to protect teeth against acid attacks and can reverse early stages of tooth decay.
Getting an early start using fluoride has life-long benefits. Adults have less decay if they start using fluoride when they’re children.
Fluoride is a safe way to prevent tooth decay. During tooth development, before the teeth appear in the mouth, too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is thin white lines on adult teeth. It doesn’t affect how teeth work or how healthy they are. In Canada, most people have no dental fluorosis. If you have questions about fluoride use, ask your family dentist.
Current as of: March 1, 2021
Author: Provincial Oral Health Office, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.