Getting Fluoride for Your Child

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.

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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.

Fluoride Toothpaste

  • 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 

  • 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.

Topic:Oral Health

Keywords:Fluoride

Resource Type: Publication

Audience: Families

Last Updated: August 9, 2018