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Dental Health


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. 

Topical applications of fluoride strengthen the outer layer (enamel) of your teeth helping to prevent tooth decay (cavities). Fluoride may also reverse the early stages of decay. A dental professional can recommend and provide a fluoride treatment based on a person’s risk of developing cavities.Some risk factors are:Current tooth decay or a history of decayLow or no fluoride in your community drinking waterOften having sugary drinks and foodsHow well and/or how often you brush and floss your teethHaving a dry mouth (caused by medications, medical conditions or treatment)Exposed root surfaces on teeth Your individual risk will determine if you would benefit from a fluoride treatment and how often it should be applied. The health unit offers free fluoride applications for eligible children at our clinic locations. Preventive services like fluoride can also be accessed through your dental care provider or through Healthy Smiles Ontario if your child is eligible. 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.


Executive Summary - Public Consultation of Fluoridation Report, July 2012 

SMDHU Position Statement on Municipal Water Fluoridation In January 2009 the health unit published the Health Focus Report, Oral Health in Simcoe and Muskoka. The report identified some significant dental health issues, including the lack of fluoridation in the majority of the drinking supply in Simcoe County. The position statement ratified by the Simcoe Muskoka District Board of Health on April 15 affirms public health's long-standing support of municipal water fluoridation as a cost-effective, universal means of improving dental health for the entire population.

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.

City of Orillia - Public Works Report of 2011 consultations on the proposal to fluoridate municipal water supply.

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