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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.
Fluoride supplements are available by prescription if concentrations in the local water supply are too low. Usually, fluoride levels are only low in well water and some water supplies in rural areas.
Normal amounts of fluoride added to public water supplies and bottled water are safe for children and adults. If your child needs extra fluoride, your dentist may recommend supplements. Use these supplements only as directed. And keep them out of reach of your child. Too much fluoride can be toxic and can stain a child's teeth.
Last Revised: January 7, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
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