What’s the point of fluoride?

Fluoride use in the United States has been a major contributing factor in reducing tooth decay over the last several decades.  Fluoride works in many ways to prevent cavities and comes in two different forms.

1.  Topical fluoride is found in toothpaste, mouthwash and routine fluoride treatments from your dentist.  This form of fluoride helps strengthen the enamel (or outer shell) of your existing teeth.  The topical fluoride is absorbed by the tooth, which makes it physically stronger and harder, so it is more difficult for decay to form on the tooth.  Topical fluoride also has anti-microbial action by negatively affecting the metabolism of bacteria that cause cavities.

2.  Systemic fluoride is fluoride that is found in community water supplies, such as in NYC.  This form of fluoride helps strengthen the developing adult teeth in your child’s jaws.  Water fluoridation is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay, and studies have shown that tooth decay is reduced by 25% when water supplies are optimally fluoridated.  Water fluoridation is one public health program that is both beneficial and cost-effective.  The cost of fluoridated water for an individual’s lifetime is less than the cost of a single dental filling.

If you have any questions about fluoride, please contact Lil Pearls Pediatric Dentistry.


Blog by Lil Pearls Pediatric Dentistry, proudly serving Queens, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Corona, Kew Gardens, and NYC.  Please call to schedule your appointment.

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