Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in many foods and water. It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria and sugar in the mouth. In the dental office, fluoride is applied as a varnish. These treatments contain a higher but (but still safe) level of fluoride than the amount in found in toothpastes and mouth rinses.
Fluoride is most critical during the time of development of both primary and permanent teeth. Both children and adults benefit from fluoride, especially those that have a tendency to develop cavities. Research has proven that topical fluoride is important in fighting tooth decay and strengthening developing teeth.