Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally occuring in many foods and water and is applied to teeth to help prevent tooth decay.
Every day, minerals are added and stripped away from your tooth’s enamel through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Minerals are lost (demineralization) the enamel layer when acids (bacteria and sugars) attack the enamel. Minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate are redeposited (remineralization) to the enamel layer by the foods and water we consume. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization leads to tooth decay.
Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks. In children under 6 years of age, fluoride is incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. As important as fluoride is, it will not alone prevent tooth decay.