Fluoride is a relatively recent but important advance in dental and oral health. Studies consistently show that a moderate but consistent exposure of teeth to fluoride helps strengthen and rebuild tooth structure, and helps prevent future decay.
It is important to note, however, that like any medical treatment, fluoride should be taken in moderation. Overexposure to fluoride can result in a cosmetic condition known as fluorosis: thin white lines, streaks or spots on the tooth enamel that start usually darken later. The risk of fluorosis is most pronounced in infants and children whose teeth have not yet fully developed and erupted from the gum line, which is why extra care must be taken to monitor how much fluoride a child ingests. Many, if not most, public water sources contain fluoridated water, and a common cause of fluorosis in children is powdered formula prepared that is prepared with fluoridated water. There are also many kinds of toothpaste, mouthwashes and even some flosses that contain fluoride.