Are You Getting Enough Fluoride?

Posted On: 07-08-2016
Are You Getting Enough Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element necessary for dental health. Depending on your water supply and your dental needs, you or your child might need extra fluoride in the form of supplements, or no extra fluoride at all. Your family dentist can help determine if you need fluoride in forms other than what you already get from drinking water.


Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay and the development of cavities. This substance benefits teeth through ingestion, where it gets into the structure of developing teeth, and through contact with the surface of teeth. It works by preventing bacteria from breaking down tooth enamel, the substance that protects the teeth’s surface.


Fluoride is found naturally in water, and many water sources, like city water municipalities, also add extra fluoride to increase its benefits. In fact, water fluoridation can reduce tooth decay by 20 to 40 percent. Fluoride is also added to some dental products, like toothpaste and mouth rinse. Additionally, it is available as a supplement in tablet or drop form.

Safe Amount

Fluoride is safe and beneficial in levels of 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (ppm). City water is tested to ensure that its fluoride content is at a safe amount. Too much fluoride from supplements, water or other sources can lead to enamel fluorosis, the discoloration of teeth. Too much fluoride from supplements can cause fluoride toxicity, which requires emergency treatment and includes symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.


Talk with your doctor or dentist about your water supply. If your doctor is local, he likely already knows whether the water supply in your area has an adequate amount of fluoride. If you have well water, you may need to have it checked by your local health department to determine fluoride content. Consider purchasing fluoridated toothpaste and using the recommended amount, and asking your dentist about other supplements.

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