uring childhood, when teeth still are forming, fluoride
works by making tooth enamel more resistant to the acid that causes tooth decay. For adolescents and adults, the benefits are just as great. Fluoride
helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before they become visible in the mouth. Further, fluoride
has been effective in decreasing root caries (decay along the gum line)
in older adults. In fact, studies indicate that people who drink optimally fluoridated water from birth will experience approximately 35 percent less decay over their lifetimes.
Fluoride is safe and effective when used appropriately. More than 50 years of research and experience have show that fluoridation at optimal levels does not harm people or the environment. Fluoridation of community water supplies is supported by the American Dental Association, the U.S. Public Health Service, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Make sure all members of your family, especially children, take in fluoride every day.
Unfortunately, many bottled waters do not contain optimal levels of fluoride. Some brands contain no fluoride, some have fluoride naturally, and some companies add fluoride to the water. Check the label or contact the manufacturer directly to ask about fluoride content.
Individuals who drink or cook with water processed by home water treatment systems (particularly reverse osmosis systems for distillation units) could be missing the decay preventive effects of their optimally fluoridated community water supply. Questions regarding the effect a specific home water treatment system might have on fluoride levels should be directed to the system's manufacturer.
Check the web site of the American Dental Association at www.ada.org
for the latest information about fluoride and fluoridation. We also encourage you to speak with your dentist about this and other oral health issues.