The fluoride found in toothpastes, mouth rinses and water plays an integral role in eliminating and reducing tooth decay.

PDA past president, Dr. Thomas Gamba, explains why fluoride is important for good dental health.

What role does fluoride play in fighting tooth decay?
In the growth stages, fluoride makes tooth enamel harder and more resistant to the acids causing tooth decay. Fluoride also helps stop the growth of cavities and can prevent the formation of new cavities.

What are different sources of fluoride?
Ways of receiving fluoride, aside from treatments from a dentist, include the use of oral care products and drinking fluoridated water. Approximately 90 percent of oral care products such as toothpastes and mouth rinses contain fluoride.

Does all water contain fluoride?
Although all water contains some fluoride, the levels needed to fight tooth decay do not always naturally occur.   To ensure water contains the levels of fluoride necessary to fight tooth decay, it must undergo a process called water fluoridation. 

Is water fluoridation safe?
Yes. More than 50 years of scientific studies have indicated that water fluoridation, which provides the concentration recommended for tooth-decay prevention, has no harmful effects. In addition, a study by the U.S. Public Health Service found no link between the fluoridation of drinking water and cancer.

Does bottled water contain amount of fluoride recommended to fight tooth decay?
Do not assume that all bottled water contains the adequate amount of fluoride to prevent tooth decay unless the fluoride content is printed on the label.

Should my child be taking fluoride supplements?
Children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years who are not drinking fluoridated water should take fluoride supplements. Contact your dentist or pediatrician to obtain supplements.

Is my community water fluoridated?
Contact your local water company to determine if your water is fluoridated, what the fluoridation levels are or what efforts are being made to add fluoride to your community or school water supply. Contact information for the water district should be listed on your water bill or in the phone book.



American Dental Association: Fluoride & Fluoridation
American Dental Association: Fluoridation Facts
Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Oral Health Resources: Fluoridation
Simple Steps to Better Dental Health: Fluoride
WITF Radio Smart Talk - Dr. Bill Spruill, former PDA president