Fluoride is found in nature in soil, plants, and water. Fluoride is safe. Drinking tap (faucet) water with fluoride, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and having a health professional apply fluoride varnish to the teeth are important ways to make teeth strong and prevent tooth decay.
Fluoride in Water
- Since most water doesn’t have enough natural fluoride to prevent tooth decay, many communities add fluoride to their water supply (tap water) used for drinking and cooking.
- Give your child tap water with fluoride. If you are not sure if your water has enough fluoride, ask your child’s dental clinic for help in finding out.
- Some bottled waters contain fluoride, and some do not. Check with the bottled water’s manufacturer to ask about the fluoride content of a particular brand.
- If your tap water does not have enough fluoride, ask your dental or medical clinic if your child needs fluoride drops or tablets.
- Brush your child’s teeth after breakfast and before bed once the first tooth begins to show.
- Use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste.
- See Healthy Habits for Happy Smiles: Brushing Your Child’s Teeth for more information.
- Fluoride varnish is painted on a child’s teeth to prevent or reduce cavities.
- It is not permanent but keeps fluoride on the teeth for several hours.
- Fluoride varnish has a pleasant taste and is well tolerated by children.
Resource Type: Publication
National Centers: Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety
Series: Healthy Habits for Happy Smiles
Last Updated: April 26, 2023