Fluoride is your friend!

You can stop cavities from forming in the first place! The American Dental Association (ADA) advises the use of fluoride for children. 

What is fluoride?

  • It is a mineral found in water, food, and soil.
  • Fluoride stops cavities by making the outer part of your teeth stronger.
  • Fluoride builds the teeth's ability to not be affected by acidic foods or drinks that cause tooth decay.
  • Many places add extra fluoride to tap water. But San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties do NOT.

Fluoride comes from many sources: Talk to your doctor about what is right for your child.

What is Fluoride Varnish?

What is Fluoride Varnish?

A varnish, or top coat, of fluoride can be put straight onto the teeth up to 3 times in 12 months.   It can help stop cavities, slow it down, or stop them from getting worse. Fluoride varnish is made from fluoride, a mineral that can make the outer coating on the teeth stronger.

Fluoride drops or tablets

Fluoride drops or tablets

Fluoride supplements are available by prescription and are used by children age 6 months to 16 years old.

Fluoride toothpaste

Fluoride toothpaste

If fluoride toothpaste is used, learn to limit the amount swallowed and observe the child as they brush.

Where can I get fluoride?

  • Ask your doctor about Fluoride Varnish application.
    • A varnish, or top coat, of fluoride can be put straight onto the teeth up to 3 times in 12 months.
    • This is fully painless and takes just a couple of minutes.
    • There is no cost for members of Health Plan of San Joaquin up to 6 years of age.
  • Get a written order from your doctor for:
    • Fluoride tablets or drops

Who needs fluoride?

  • Children (6 months to 16 years old) who do not have fluoride in tap water.
  • The amount of fluoride needed depends on age and other sources of fluoride.

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Ask your doctor about Fluoride Varnish application.

When should my child use fluoride toothpaste?

Under 3 years old
When your kid’s teeth start to appear, even if it’s just a few teeth, brush them using a children’s toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice.
fluoride toothpaste
Ages 3-6 years old
Place a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on a soft toothbrush and brush your kid’s teeth 2min2x (2 minutes, twice a day). Help young kids brush their teeth and teach them to spit out the toothpaste. They shouldn’t swallow it.

tooth brush

Ages 6+
Make sure your child is able to brush their teeth themself and knows not to swallow the toothpaste. Be a good role model by supervising them when they brush 2min2x – 2 minutes, twice a day.

Kids want to know: How else can I stop cavities?

  • Brush and floss your teeth after eating.
  • Build strong teeth by eating dairy products (ex. cheese, yogurt).
  • Protect your teeth by eating lean protein (ex. meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and nuts).
  • Chew your food very well:
    • This raises the amount of spit in your mouth
    • Spit helps wash away harmful acids and food stuck in your teeth

How do I find a Denti-Cal dentist?

If you are in the program, also known as Medi-Cal Dental Program , you can use the Smile, California website at http://smilecalifornia.org/find-a-dentist/ or call (800) 322-6384 for help finding a dentist near you.