Fluoride: Nature’s Cavity Fighter | Delta Dental of Arkansas

Posted Jan 2021

By Delta Dental of Arkansas

Tagged diet, water filters, bottled water, fluoride liquids, fluoride tablets, fluoride foam, fluoride toothpaste, fluoride gel, tooth decay, enamel, fluoride treatment, dental insurance plan, dental insurance, cavity-fighter, cavities, cavity, CWF, community water fluoridation, water fluoridation, fluoride

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Fluoride: Nature’s Cavity Fighter | Delta Dental of Arkansas

January 2021

Woman drinking water with fluoride


Your teeth are under constant attack from cavity-causing bacteria, but you can help them fight back by drinking your local tap fluoridated water.

The secret weapon?

Fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, the hard outer layer. If applied in adequate amounts, fluoride protects your teeth from tooth decay and cavities and can even rebuild the surface of your teeth in the early stages of tooth decay. Fluoride also combats acids in your mouth that can cause cavities.

For those reasons, the American Dental Association calls fluoride “nature’s cavity fighter.”

See for yourself and demonstrate the health benefits of fluoride to your kids with this fun science experiment.

How does fluoride get into the tap water?

Fluoride originates in rocks and is released into soil, water and air. However, the naturally occurring amounts are typically too small to be effective against tooth decay, so most public water supplies in the United States add fluoride through a process called “community water fluoridation” or CWF.

At such optimally fluoridated levels, tap water is proven to reduce tooth decay by 20-40%, a major public health benefit.

Today, 75% of Americans have access to fluoridated tap water. In Arkansas, the number is even higher, almost 90%. That’s the result of a multi-year CWF funding effort by Delta Dental of Arkansas during the 2010s.

Other sources of fluoride

ADA Accepted Logo

  • Toothpaste is another significant source of fluoride as almost all toothpaste sold in the United States contains fluoride. Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

    Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day and drinking fluoridated water is an excellent way to consistently get fluoride.
  • Fluoride is also available in some other clearly labeled dental products such as mouthwashes.
  • Dentists may prescribe fluoride supplements as tablets or liquids to children at high risk for dental cavities. They may also apply a fluoride varnish, gel or foam to teeth, and in some cases, silver diamine fluoride.

Dental plans usually cover fluoride treatments for children but not for adults. Check your dental plan to see what’s covered.

Heads up!

Most bottled water does not contain fluoride unless it’s listed as an added ingredient on the label. If you and your family are drinking mostly bottled water, you are missing out on cavity-preventing fluoride.

Also pay attention to water filters: Reverse osmosis water filters remove some fluoride from tap water, while typical charcoal-based filters do not.

Fluoride is 1 of 3 daily habits to achieve good oral health:

  1. Drink fluoridated water.
  2. Practice good oral hygiene:
    1. Floss each day.
    2. Brush your teeth twice daily for 2 minutes each with fluoride toothpaste.
    3. See a dentist regularly. Delta Dental of Arkansas can help you find a dentist and get dental coverage today.
  3. Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, and low in sugar.

Fluoride is a success story

For more than 75 years, communities have added fluoride to water, leading to a dramatic decline in tooth decay. By reducing cavities in children and adults, fluoridation has helped save families and the U.S. health care system billions of dollars.

As a result, community water fluoridation was named by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “1 of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

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Posted by Delta Dental of Arkansas



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