Photo of Tooth Brush with Toothpaste

How fluoride prevents tooth decay


Fluoride is an important mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay. The Canadian Dental Association supports the appropriate use of fluorides in dentistry as one of the most successful preventive health measures in the history of health care. More than 50 years of extensive research throughout the world consistently demonstrates safety and effectiveness of fluorides in the prevention of dental caries.

Fluoridated Toothpastes and Mouth Rinses

The Canadian Dental Association recognizes and supports the use of fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses to prevent dental caries. Fluoridated toothpastes should be used twice a day to brush your teeth. As young children tend to swallow toothpaste when they are brushing, this may increase their exposure to fluoride. Therefore, it is important for adults to closely monitor their children as they brush their teeth in order to moderate risk of developing dental fluorosis while optimizing the benefits of fluoride. Children from birth to age 3 should have their teeth and gums brushed by an adult in order to prevent risk of over-fluoridating.

Fluoride rinses are an effective preventive measure for at-risk individuals and should be used according to the specific needs of the individual. Fluoride rinses are not recommended for children under 6 years of age.

Enamel Fluorosis

The availability of fluorides from various sources should be taken into account before beginning a specific course of fluoride delivery. According to the Canadian Dental Association, this is particularly important for children under age 6. A child may face a condition called enamel fluorosis if they receive too much fluoride during their years of tooth development. Too much fluoride can result in defects in tooth enamel. Provided that the total daily intake of fluoride is carefully monitored, fluoride is considered to be an important health measure in maintaining oral health for all Canadians.