The greatest breakthrough in preventive dentistry during the last fifty years has been the use of fluoride.
About two-thirds of American cities add additional fluoride to their water supply for the prevention of tooth decay. In fact, fluoridation of public water systems can reduce cavities in baby teeth by 60 per cent and those in permanent teeth by 35 per cent.
There are many benefits in the use of fluoride for people of all ages. When children are young and their teeth are forming, fluoride joins with the enamel surface making it harder and more resistant to decay.
The benefits for adults are just as great. Fluoride can help repair an early cavity, even before it’s visible in the mouth, by rebuilding the enamel layer of the teeth. Fluoride is also helpful in older adults, to help solve the problem of cavities in the tooth root or with root sensitivity.
Fluoride is an important part of every prevention program. When combined with the good dental habits of brushing and flossing, the number of cavities in children and adults can be dramatically reduced.