Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and protects against decay.
In Australia, all capital cities have optimal amounts of fluoride added to tap water. Some areas of the country have naturally occurring fluoride in the water, and in those places extra fluoride is not added. It is important to note that bottled water usually does not contain enough fluoride to offer protection against tooth decay. Some home water filters also remove fluoride from tap water.
If you live in an area that doesn’t have any fluoride in the water, especially where only rainwater or tank water is available, then it is important to speak with your dentist about other fluoride options to maintain the health of your child’s teeth. Your dentist may recommend other fluoride products or they may apply topical fluoride to your child’s teeth, which has been proven to help prevent tooth decay.
Use toothpaste with a fluoride content that is appropriate for a child – there are low fluoride toothpastes available specifically for children. Too much fluoride during tooth development can cause mild white flecking or mottling of permanent teeth (“enamel fluorosis”). A young child who regularly swallows adult-strength fluoride toothpaste instead of spitting it out may develop enamel fluorosis. To prevent dental fluorosis: