What is fluoride, where is it used and what does it do?

Fluoride is added to toothpaste to help protect teeth from tooth decay.

Fluoride helps to do this by:

  • Strenghtening the outside of a tooth (enamel) by making it more able to resist the acid in foods, which can cause tooth decay.

Where is fluoride used?

Dentists recommend that children and adults should brush their teeth using toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Fluoride Varnish: Is another treatment that can be used to help protect against tooth decay. The varnish is painted on the surface of both children and adult’s teeth to strengthen them against tooth decay. This is usually done every three to six months by a dentist or dental nurse.

Some people are be prone to tooth decay may also be prescribed mouthwash, gels and tablets containing higher levels of fluoride by their dentist. You should always ask a dentist first if you think using these products will help you or your family.

You can read more about the dental benefits of fluoride on The British Fluoridation Society’s website, which also has a map showing the average fluoride levels across the UK during 2010