The best way to get fluoride is through your drinking water, in the US we’ve been adding fluoride to the drinking water for over 70 years, they’ve been studying the effects of this for about that long and have found no negative effects to properly fluoridated drinking water. The positive effects that they’ve found are amazing! Most studies have shown at least a 25% reduction in the amount of the community’s tooth decay just by having fluoride.
Unfortunately, in Montana we don’t have fluoride in our water, this is really too bad as in this country that is the most effective way of getting fluoride (in some other countries around the world they add fluoride to the milk or even the salt). Around Frenchtown we all have well water, so it’s a bit of a moot point. So how should we get fluoride?
For kids because it is so important that they get the right amount of fluoride I recommend fluoride supplements. I’ve noticed that most the pediatricians that my patients are seeing are prescribing fluoride supplements for them. You can get a prescription for fluoride supplements either from your child’s pediatrician, or from me! Kids need the supplements to get that “systemic” effect where the fluoride is actually incorporated into their developing teeth in order to give them a lifetime of stronger teeth.
For adults it’s important to get “topical” fluoride. Meaning we need it to wash over your teeth to help repair the damage that the bacteria has done. I always recommend toothpaste with fluoride in it. That’s your first line of defense. For many I will also recommend using a mouthwash with fluoride. A mouthwash can get to places that your tooth paste doesn’t and has benefits for your gums. For those that tend to get a lot of tooth decay I recommend a prescription strength toothpaste and/or mouthwash.