Fluoride
Fluoride

Background

Fluoride is a form of the chemical element fluorine. It occurs naturally in nature and is found in body tissues containing calcium, such as bones and teeth.

Fluoride protects teeth from the bacteria in plaque. It also promotes new bone formation. This is different than most medicines used for weak bones (osteoporosis), which fight osteoporosis by keeping bone from being broken down.

People commonly use fluoride to prevent cavities. It is also used for tooth plaque, a mild form of gum disease (gingivitis), osteoporosis, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of its other uses.

The FDA warns that swallowing too much toothpaste can increase the risk for tooth staining. But this is likely more of a concern with long-term use rather than accidentally swallowing it just once. Also, starting June 2022, fluoride levels in bottled water cannot exceed 0.7 mg per liter and must be declared on the label.
When taken by mouth: Fluoride is commonly consumed in public drinking water. It is likely safe when consumed in doses below the tolerable upper intake level (UL) of 10 mg of elemental fluoride daily. Taking high doses, long-term can weaken bones and ligaments, and cause muscle weakness and nervous system problems.

When applied to the teeth: Fluoride is likely safe when used in toothpastes and mouthwashes, and when applied by dentists.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Fluoride is commonly consumed in public drinking water. It is likely safe when consumed in doses below the upper tolerable intake level of 10 mg daily and when applied directly to the teeth in toothpastes and mouthwashes while pregnant or breast-feeding. But using higher doses is possibly unsafe and can weaken bones and ligaments, and cause muscle weakness and nervous system problems.

Children: Fluoride is commonly consumed in public water supplies. It is likely safe when consumed in doses below the daily upper tolerable intake level. These doses are set by age: 0.7 mg for 0-6 months, 0.9 mg for 7-12 months, 1.3 mg for 1-3 years, 2.2 mg for 4-8 years, and 10 mg for children 8 years and older. It is also likely safe when applied directly to the teeth in toothpastes and mouthwashes. But consuming higher amounts of fluoride is possibly unsafe. Children under six should only use a pea-sized amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste, just in case they swallow some. For infants under 6 months of age, drinking water that is high in natural fluoride should not be mixed with infant formula.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
  • Cavities. Using fluoride in toothpaste, mouthwash, and other dental products, or consuming it in drinking water, reduces the risk of cavities in both baby teeth and permanent teeth. But it's not clear if taking fluoride supplements by mouth offers these benefits.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • Tooth plaque.Using toothpaste containing fluoride, especially when it also contains tin (stannous fluoride), seems to reduce the amount of plaque build-up on teeth.
  • A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Using toothpaste containing fluoride, especially when it also contains tin (stannous fluoride), seems to reduce bleeding and swelling of the gums.
  • Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis). Taking fluoride by mouth seems to increase bone mineral density, which is an indicator of bone strength. But it's not clear if it helps reduce the risk of fractures.
There is interest in using fluoride for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

In the US, most public water sources contain low amounts of added fluoride to prevent dental cavities. It is also sometimes added to bottled water. It's recommended that females 18 years and older consume 3 mg of fluoride daily. It's recommended that males 18 years of age consume 3 mg, and males 19 years and older consume 4 mg daily. Recommended amounts for children depend on age. Fluoride is also commonly used in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and other dental products. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose or product might be best for a specific condition.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if Fluoride interacts with any medicines. Before taking Fluoride, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Calcium: Calcium can bind with fluoride and decrease the amount of fluoride that can be absorbed by the body.

Interactions with foods

Foods rich in calcium, including infant formula, can bind with fluoride and decrease the amount of fluoride that the body absorbs.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 21/02/2022 00:27:15 and last updated on 23/05/2022 06:47:09. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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