Fluoride a naturally occurring element helps prevent tooth decay in two ways:
- Topically, when applied to erupted teeth
- Systemically, when ingested during tooth development.
Topical fluorides include: toothpastes, mouth rinses, and professionally applied fluoride gels and rinses. Sources of systemic fluorides include: water, dietary fluoride supplements in the forms of tablets, drops or lozenges, and fluoride present in food and beverages.