Make Sure You're Getting Fluoride

If your goal is healthy teeth for life, then you need fluoride. It ensures newly formed teeth are strong; prevents plaque, caries, and gum disease; and protects roots that get exposed as gums recede over time.

This essential mineral is present in what we eat and drink, but a healthy diet doesn't supply enough for a gleaming smile. Instead, it's important to apply it topically and drink fluoride-rich water. In toothpaste, it boosts the cavity resistance of existing teeth. Systemic fluoride, in water, creates healthy tooth structure and supplies fluoride for the saliva.

Are You Sure There's Fluoride In Your Water?

Bottled water intake is skyrocketing. That'd be great news health-wise, except most bottled water falls far short of the optimal 0.7 parts per million. And bottlers aren't required to provide content information on their labels—unless they add it.

Well over one-third of American households also now use a water treatment device. But most consumers are unaware that treatment may reduce fluoride content: Steam distillation eliminates it, and reverse osmosis removes 65–95% of the mineral. More benign are charcoal-carbon filters, and water softening systems, which generally do not have an effect.

If bottled or treated water is your primary source, ask the bottler or manufacturer for fluoride content information. If it's less than optimal, ask us about a supplement.