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Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent tooth decay. It is added to local water supplies, toothpastes, and other mouth care products.

Fluoride controls bacteria and makes teeth stronger and more resistant to decay. Fluoride also helps repair teeth that have already been slightly damaged by plaque.

Normal amounts of fluoride added to public water supplies and bottled water are safe for children and adults. If you or your child are at high risk of getting cavities, your dentist may recommend other sources of fluoride. These include varnishes or gels that the dentist puts on the teeth. Only give your child fluoride supplements if your dentist recommends them, and always follow the directions. Keep all fluoride products out of reach of your child.

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.