How does Fluoride work?
Fluoride protects teeth from the bacteria in plaque. It also promotes new bone formation.
Are there safety concerns?
Fluoride is safe for most people when consumed in amounts added to public water supplies and used in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and other dental products. Low doses (up to 20 mg per day of elemental fluoride) of supplemental fluoride taken by mouth appear to be safe for most people. High doses are unsafe and can weaken bones and ligaments, and cause muscle weakness and nervous system problems. High doses of fluoride in children before their permanent teeth come through the gums can cause tooth discoloration.
Dosing considerations for Fluoride.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- To prevent tooth decay (dental caries): in the US, fluoride is added to city water 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), children 6 months to 3 years should receive a fluoride supplement of 0.25 mg per day; children 3 to 6 years, 0.5 mg per day; and children 6 to 16 years, 1 mg per day. For children living in areas where the fluoride level is 0.3 to 0.6 ppm, children 3 to 6 years should receive 0.25 mg per day, and children 6 to 16 years, 0.5 mg per day. No supplement is needed in areas where the fluoride in drinking water exceeds 0.6 ppm.
- For treating weak bones (osteoporosis): 15 to 20 mg per day of elemental fluoride.
The daily Adequate Intakes (AI) for elemental fluoride from all sources including drinking water are: infants birth through 6 months, 0.01 mg; babies age 7 through 12 months, 0.5 mg; children 1 through 3 years, 0.7 mg; 4 through 8 years, 1 mg; 9 through 13 years, 2 mg; 14 through 18 years, 3 mg; men 19 years and older, 4 mg; women 14 years and older, including those who are pregnant or breast feeding, 3 mg.
The daily upper intake levels (UL) for fluoride, the highest level at which no harmful effects are expected, are 0.7 mg for infants birth through 6 months; 0.9 mg for infants 7 through 12 months; 1.3 mg for children 1 through 3 years; 2.2 mg for children 4 through 8 years and 10 mg for children older than 8 years, adults, and pregnant and breast feeding women.
Sodium fluoride contains 45% elemental fluoride. Monofluorophosphate contains 19% elemental fluoride.