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Dental Health

Fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral that helps prevent cavities by making the outer layer of your teeth (enamel) harder. It can also help reverse early stage tooth decay.  Everyone can benefit from fluoride, regardless of their age. 

There are different ways to get fluoride. Fluoridated toothpaste and fluoride at a dental office strengthen the top surface of the enamel. Fluoride added to public drinking water (community water fluoridation) strengthens the enamel from the inside out when children’s teeth are developing. Drinking fluoridated water daily bathes teeth in low levels of fluoride to help them stay strong.

The greatest cavity fighting benefit for your family comes from having both fluoridated water and brushing with fluoride toothpaste throughout life.

If you have any questions call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

External Links:

Canadian Dental Association (CDA) – Fluoride FAQs


 

The most common way to use fluoride at home is fluoridated toothpaste. Brush your teeth with it morning and night for two minutes each time. Don’t swallow the toothpaste, spit out any extra and don’t rinse.

For children, use a tiny smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice until they are old enough to spit it out. Then it’s time to move up to a green pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Help your child brush their teeth until they are about eight years old.

Only use over the counter fluoride rinses, gels or supplements if a dental professional has advised that you need one. 

Professionally Applied Fluorides

A dentist or dental hygienist may recommend a fluoride treatment to help prevent decay.  They might use a fluoride gel or foam in a soft tray that fits over teeth or brush a fluoride varnish on your teeth.

Your risk for cavities will determine if you would benefit from a fluoride treatment and how often. Some risks for cavities are:

  • Current tooth decay or a history of decay
  • Low or no fluoride in your community drinking water
  • Often having sugary drinks and foods
  • Not brushing or flossing enough
  • Having a dry mouth (caused by medications, medical conditions or treatment)
  • Exposed root surfaces on teeth

The health unit offers free fluoride varnish applications for eligible children at health unit and school clinics and some day care centres.

See here for more information about our clinics

 

Community water fluoridation is a safe, effective way of reducing tooth decay. It reaches and benefits everyone in the community, including people of all ages and income levels. It also helps to lower dental costs.

Brushing teeth with fluoride toothpaste and fluoride applications by a dental professional are not a substitute for community water fluoridation.

In Simcoe Muskoka the municipal water supply is fluoridated in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Bala, Mactier, and Port Carling.

The amount of fluoride added to municipal water supplies to prevent cavities is based on provincial standards and federal guidelines and is closely monitored. It does not pose a health risk to people at any age.

Fluorosis is a cosmetic effect, usually mild and barely noticeable, of fluoride that can occur when young children get too much fluoride in the early stages when their teeth are forming, usually from swallowing toothpaste during the first three to four years. The best way to avoid this is by measuring out your child’s toothpaste for them and getting them to spit.

External Links

Public Health Ontario: Evidence Review for Adverse Effects of Drinking Optimally Fluoridated Water (2010-2017), November 2018

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) – Position Statement on Community Water Fluoridation

Community Water Fluoridation Programs: A Health Technology Assessment, February 2019.
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