Fluoride benefits both children and adults. Before teeth break through the gums, the fluoride taken in from foods, beverages and dietary supplements strengthens tooth enamel making it stronger and more resistant to cavities. This provides “systemic” benefit.
After the teeth erupt, fluoride helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste or use other fluoride dental products, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This provides “topical” benefit.
In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continue to provide a topical benefit as it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth and helping rebuild weakened tooth enamel.