Fluoride helps make teeth stronger and helps prevent cavities. One way to get fluoride is through drinking water. However, bottled water or water that has been treated by reverse osmosis, distillation, or deionization has very little or no fluoride.
Fluoride can also be found in some toothpastes, floss, and mouth rinses, so daily oral hygiene with those products helps prevent decay. Your dentist may also prescribe or apply fluoride to strengthen teeth during routine dental visits.
- Join the Campaign for Dental Health in spreading the word about the importance of community water fluoridation.
- South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources - fluoride in drinking water
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - community water fluoridation
Fluoride varnish does not take the place of a dental visit.
Protecting Smiles with Fluoride Varnish
Fluoride varnish is a protective coating painted onto teeth to help prevent new cavities and help stop cavities that have already started.
Fluoride varnish is safe to be used on children from the time they have their first tooth and is lactose-free, gluten-free, and nut free.
Fluoride varnish is recommended for children’s teeth because tooth decay is one of the most common preventable diseases seen in children. Children as young as 12 to 18 months can get cavities which can cause pain and prevent children from eating, speaking, sleeping, and learning.
Fluoride varnish needs to be reapplied every three to four months for best results.
After fluoride varnish is applied:
- Offer your child only cold beverages and only cold, soft food for 2 hours.
- Do not brush or floss for at least 4-6 hours.
- Do not give your child a fluoride supplement on the day of treatment.
- It may appear “spotty,” yellow, or clear on teeth after it dries. Don’t worry. This will disappear once your child brushes their teeth.
Healthy Smiles for Two
A child’s oral health begins during pregnancy.
Pregnant women may be more prone to gum disease and cavities, which can impact their baby’s health. After the baby arrives moms can pass cavity-causing bacteria to their baby raising the risk of tooth decay as babies get their teeth. Eating healthy foods while pregnant such as fruits and vegetables and drinking Fluoridated water instead of sugary drinks can help.
Baby teeth are essential to help children chew food and speak clearly. They also hold space for permanent teeth and add to your child’s good health. Children should visit a dentist by age 1.
Learn about taking care of your child’s oral health after birth based on age.