A: You may have heard of fluoride. It is a substance in most toothpastes, some mouth rinses, and in Halton Hills, our public drinking water. It is beneficial to teeth because when it comes in contact, it makes them more resistant to tooth decay. Despite the view espoused by Brigadier General Ripper in the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, water fluoridation is not a “monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot”. Its benefits were discovered by an American researcher in the the 1930’s who found a link between appropriate concentrations in water and the reduction of tooth decay in a population. Public water fluoridation is now considered one of “one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” by the Center for Disease Control in the U.S. (and those people know their diseases). Anecdotally, in my practice, the individuals I see who have never had a cavity, have almost all grown up with fluoride in their water. If an individual seem susceptible to tooth decay, we will frequently recommend a regular application of fluoride varnish on teeth, a prescription-strength toothpaste or a fluoridated mouth rinse. If you don’t drink tap water or if you use well water without naturally occurring fluoride, supplemental tablets may be beneficial as well. As the saying sort of goes: “Talk to your dentist to find out if fluoride is right for you”.