Fluoride is important for people of all ages! Adult teeth start to develop when we are just a few months old and continue throughout childhood. During this time fluoride can be incorporated into the tooth structure and create a stronger tooth that is less susceptible to cavities. It is important not to ingest too much fluoride at a young age because the teeth can develop white or yellow spots and have a mottled appearance. The water fluoridation city programs are geared toward children whose adult teeth are still developing.
Once your adult teeth are present, fluoride plays a different role. With everyday eating and drinking, the outer surface of our teeth are constantly demineralizing and remineralizing. When there is fluoride present in the saliva it is incorporated into the outer tooth surface and once again makes a much stronger, cavity resistant compound. You do not run the risk of getting white spots or mottled looking teeth once they are already erupted; that occurs solely during development. There is also no systemic effect from topical fluoride varnish. People who are prone to cavities or have existing dental work or have tooth sensitivity are great candidates for fluoride treatment. It is a cheap and easy way to prevent getting new cavities or decay around existing restorations.