Fluoride comes from an element in the earth’s soil called fluorine. Many experts believe that fluoride helps prevent cavities, and it is a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash.
However, some dental products do not contain fluoride, and some people do not use it at all.
Evidence suggests that a lack of fluoride can lead to tooth decay, even if a person takes care of their teeth otherwise. A recent review found that brushing and flossing do not prevent a person from getting cavities if they do not use fluoride.
Many communities in the United States have added fluoride to their water supply. Several organizations recommend this practice, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the ADA.
People can find out whether the water in their area contains fluoride by contacting their local government. Reverse osmosis water filters remove fluoride, and people who use well water will need to check the fluoride levels in this water to find out how much is present. Many bottled water brands do not contain fluoride.