Why is fluoride in tap water?
There are bacteria (streptococcus mutans) that produce acid, which breaks down teeth and causes cavities. These bacteria eat and thrive off sugar and the acid they produce then weakens the enamel of the teeth. Fluoride helps to fight this by strengthening teeth. Fluoride contains small ions that fit themselves into the crystal enamel structure of teeth and helps make it stronger to better resist the acid produced by the bacteria. Adding fluoride in water helps to increase the strength of the public’s teeth.
Unlike when a city or town adds fluoride to public water supplies, tap water in Barrie does not have added fluoride. When a town or city adds fluoride to water, the process is called fluoridation. Ontario has special rules for townships and cities that want to fluoridate their water, and a public referendum must be held where citizens vote. To date, there has never been a successful referendum to fluoridate water in Barrie.
How to supplement fluoride
Since Barrie does not fluoridate their water, it is a good idea for children to supplement fluoride to help strengthen their teeth. There are chewable fluoride tablets that are sold behind the counter at pharmacies. Please be cautious though, at high levels fluoride is poisonous. Always read and follow the label to avoid harm.
Fluoride can also naturally be in water
Fluoride is often found in natural water even without fluoridation. Some wells for example already have high fluoride levels. If you find that your child is prone to cavities, it might be a good idea to test your water for fluoride content. As we mentioned earlier, another option is to supplement fluoride but always read and follow the label.