The key reason why tooth decay has been greatly reduced in the past few decades is use of fluoride. During childhood, when teeth are still forming, fluoride works by making tooth enamel more resistant to the acid that causes tooth decay.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources. Topical fluorides may be found in toothpastes, mouth rinses and fluoride applied in the office. Systemic fluorides are those that are swallowed; including fluoridated water and dietary fluoride supplements such as tablets, drops, or lozenges. The maximum reduction in tooth decay is seen when fluoride is available both topically and systemically.
Before you give your child any supplemental fluoride, check with you dentist to see if one is needed. Discuss your child’s fluoride needs with your dentist or pediatrician based on the risk level of your child.