By Erica Laceria on Oct 1, 2014 @ 09:30 AM
Most municipalities regulate the amount of fluoride in a town or city's tap water. Does fluoride prevent tooth decay? Fluoride is important, especially for children, because it helps prevent tooth decay. In fact, fluoride in community drinking water prevents about 25 percent of tooth decay in the course of your life! This is why fluoride is an ingredient in most toothpastes as well. However, if your water comes from a well, or if you drink mostly bottled water, there's a chance you are not getting enough fluoride in the water you drink.
When you can't count on your water supply to provide fluoride, how do you make sure to get the proper dosage of fluoride?
First, if you have well water, you should have your fluoride levels tested annually. Fluoride occurs naturally in all water, so your well water is just as likely to have too much fluoride as it is to have to little. If your well water tests too high in fluoride it can be removed professionally with a device, but unfortunately if the situation is vice-versa, there is no way to add fluoride to your well water.
According to the CDC, "if fluoride levels in your drinking water are lower than 0.7 mg/L, your child's dentist or pediatrician should evaluate whether your child could benefit from daily fluoride supplements." The American Dental Association has a standard dosing schedule for fluoride supplements. Fluoride can be given in liquid form or in tablets and is usually taken twice a day and can be mixed with juice, milk, water, or food.
In your conversation with your dentist, you may find that supplements are not necessary if your child drinks a lot of tap water at school or a day care, and if your toothpaste has fluoride and is used on a regular basis. Have an open conversation with your dentist about how to get enough fluoride if you are drinking mostly bottled water, or if you use any alternative to tap water.
In any case, if you find it necessary to incorporate more fluoride into your daily intake, consult your physician who can prescribe the correct formula, brand and dosage for your medical health.