If your faucets bring fluoridated water into your home, your oral health benefits greatly. Most of the public water supplies in the U.S. now include fluoride. Studies estimate an 18–40% reduction in cavities when water fluoridation is used. It’s so beneficial that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control listed water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.
Fluoride has proven effective in preventing cavities, promotes and remineralizes tooth enamel, alters the development process of oral bacteria, and combats some bacteria that lead to periodontal disease. Drinking fluoridated water also adds low levels of fluoride to saliva for a continual benefit to your oral health.
If you do not consume fluoridated water (perhaps you use a water filtration system or well water, for example), you can still prevent cavities from occurring. Always use a fluoridated toothpaste, use a tongue scraper daily, swish at least 30 seconds with a fluoridated oral rinse, and floss each evening before your final brushing. At your six-month check-ups, sealants can be applied for added protection.