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Cavities used to be a fact of life. But during the past few decades, tooth decay has been dramatically reduced. The key reason: fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including the oceans. Research has shown that fluoride not only prevents cavities, it also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay is visible.


During childhood, when teeth still are forming, fluoride works by making tooth enamel more resistant to the acid that causes tooth decay. After teeth erupt, the benefits are just as great. Fluoride helps repair, or remineralize, areas where the acid attacks have already begun. Fluoride is obtained in two forms: topical and systemic. Topical fluorides may be found in toothpastes, mouth rinses and fluoride applied in the dental office. Systemic fluorides are those that are swallowed. They include fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements in the form of tablets or drops. The maximum reduction in tooth decay is achieved when fluoride is available both topically and systemically.


Water fluoridation provides both topical and systemic benefits for preventing tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is an extremely effective and inexpensive means of obtaining the fluoride necessary for optimal prevention of tooth decay. THERE IS NO FLUORIDE IN OUR WATER SUPPLY HERE IN LANE COUNTY. Children who regularly drink bottled water, well water or unflouridated tap water may be missing the benefits of fluoride.

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