What is fluoride?
The fluoride ion comes from the element fluorine. Fluoride, either applied topically to erupted teeth, or ingested orally (called systemic fluoride) during tooth development, helps to prevent tooth decay, strengthen tooth enamel, and reduce the harmful effects of plaque. Fluoride also makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before the damage is even visible.
Where is fluoride found?
Once ingested, systemic fluoride is absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract and distributed and deposited throughout the body via the blood supply.
What health risks are associated fluoride use?
In general, fluoride consumption is safe. Health risks associated with fluoridation are usually limited to misuse and over concentration. To avoid misuse and over concentration:
- avoid drinking overly fluoridated water - results of this may cause teeth to become discolored, and may cause the enamel of the teeth to look spotted, pitted, or stained (a condition known as dental fluorosis).
- avoid swallowing toothpaste and other dental hygiene products.
- call the local water department and/or the health department to evaluate the fluoride level in your local drinking reservoir.
Children are especially vulnerable to dental fluorosis as their developing teeth are more sensitive to higher fluoride levels. Consult a pediatric dentist or other oral health care professional if you notice changes in the condition of your child's teeth.
Click here to view the
Online Resources of Oral Health
Disclaimer - This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. © 2009 Staywell Custom Communications.