What are the side effects of Fluoride Treatment?

Fluoride is a mineral used to strengthen tooth enamel and aid in the prevention of tooth decay. It is added to public drinking water and can be found in oral health products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride can be taken orally to treat weakened bones and to help prevent bone loss.

How Does Fluoride Work?

Fluoride applied to the teeth works to protect the teeth from decay and promotes new bone formation. It can be applied topically directly to the teeth or ingested orally.

Uses and Effectiveness

Fluoride can be used for:

  • The prevention of tooth decay when added to drinking water or in oral care products, used regularly
  • The possible treatment of bone loss; taken orally as recommended by a healthcare provider, fluoride might increase bone mineral density

Safety and Side Effects

The amount of fluoride added to drinking water is safe for most people as is the amount of fluoride found in oral care products and fluoride varnishes used by dentists. Higher doses are unsafe and can cause weakness in the muscles and problems in the nervous system. Your healthcare professionals will ensure that you are receiving the proper amount of fluoride in your daily routines.

Take care that your child does not to swallow fluoride toothpastes and rises, allowing only a pea sized amount of toothpaste on their soft-bristled toothbrush twice daily.

Precautions and Warnings

During pregnancy and nursing, fluoride seems to be safe when doses do not exceed 10mg per day. Higher doses are unsafe and can cause weakness in bones, muscles and ligaments and can cause problems in the nervous system.


By Mouth:

  • Safe levels of fluoride is added to public water supplies in a concentration level of .07 to 1.2 parts per million to prevent dental cavities. Speak with your child’s healthcare provider to determine if your child should be taking a fluoride supplement.
  • 15 to 20mg per day of elemental fluoride is recommended for the treatment of weak bones. Speak with your healthcare professional to determine if you should be taking a fluoride supplement.

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 nursing, 3 mg

The daily upper intake levels (UL) for fluoride, the highest level at which no harmful effects are expected, are:

  • 7 mg for infants birth through 6 months
  • 9 mg for infants 7 through 12 months
  • 3 mg for children 1 through 3 years
  • 2 mg for children 4 through 8 years
  • 10 mg for children older than 8 years, adults, and pregnant and nursing women

Sodium fluoride contains 45% elemental fluoride. Monofluorophosphate contains 19% elemental fluoride.

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