Fluoride is most commonly used to prevent cavities, and to treat tooth plaque, a mild form of gum disease (gingivitis), and weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis).
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Tooth plaque. Research shows that using toothpaste containing fluoride, especially when it also contains tin (stannous fluoride), can reduce the amount of plaque build-up on teeth.
- A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Research shows that using a toothpaste containing fluoride, especially when it also contains tin (stannous fluoride), can reduce bleeding and swelling of the gums.
- Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis). Fluoride taken by mouth, either every day or cyclically (some months on and then some months off) might increase bone mineral density, which is an indicator of bone strength. Fluoride seems to work better for improving bone density in older women when combined with hormone replacement therapy. However, it's not clear whether taking fluoride actually reduces the chance of weak bones breaking. There are better medications to use for bone loss for most people.
Insufficient Evidence for
- A type of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease). Early research shows that fluoride might improve bone density in some parts of the body in people with Crohn disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research shows that fluoride might improve bone density in some parts of the body in people with Crohn's disease.
- Other conditions.
When applied to the teeth: Fluoride is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in toothpastes and mouthwashes, and applied by dentists.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Fluoride is LIKELY SAFE in the amounts added to public water supplies and when applied directly to the teeth in toothpastes and mouthwashes. Higher doses of fluoride are POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Toothpaste and fluoride rinses should not be swallowed routinely, particularly by children. It's a good idea to make sure that children under six years of age use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste, just in case they swallow some. In addition, for infants under 6 months of age, drinking water should not be mixed with formula if the water is high in natural fluoride.
We currently have no information for FLUORIDE overview.
- For cavities: In the US, fluoride is added to most city water sources to a concentration of 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (ppm).
- For weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis): 11.3 to 20 mg per day of elemental fluoride.
- For tooth plaque: Brushing the teeth 1-2 minutes two times a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride has been used.
- For a mild form of gum disease (gingivitis): Brushing the teeth 1-2 minutes two times a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride has been used.
- For cavities: In the US, fluoride is added to city water sources to a concentration of 0.7 to 1.2 parts per million (ppm). To prevent dental caries in areas where the fluoride level in drinking water is less than 0.3 ppm (such as in well water), some children should take fluoride supplements as follows: 0.25 mg daily in children 6 months to 3 years, 0.5 mg daily in children 3-6 years, and 1 mg daily in children 6-16 years. For children living in areas where the fluoride level in drinking water is 0.3 to 0.6 ppm, some children should take fluoride supplements as follows: 0.25 mg daily for children 3-6 years and 0.5 mg daily for children 6-16 years. No supplement is needed in areas where the fluoride in drinking water exceeds 0.6 ppm.
- For cavities: Toothpaste, mouthwash, and gels containing fluoride have been used. Gels are usually used once or more per year. Mouthwash and toothpaste are usually used 1-2 times each day.
The daily upper intake levels (UL) for fluoride, which is the highest level that can be taken daily with no harmful effects expected, are: 0.7 mg for infants 0-6 months of age, 0.9 mg for infants 7-12 months of age, 1.3 mg for children 1-3 years of age, 2.2 mg for children 4-8 years of age, and 10 mg for children older than 8 years and all adults.
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