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.

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