added on: February 7, 2017

Fluoride is a natural element found in many things.  There are two different kinds of fluoride. They include topical and systemic.

Topical is your most common type of fluoride, found at the dental office and at home products.  Topical is applied directly to the tooth structure.  It can be used in the dental office though gels, foams and varnishes.  The strength of these are greater than that of the at home fluoride products. Topical at home products include toothpastes, floss and rinses.  Prescription toothpastes are available from your dentist for high risk cavity patients because it contains higher fluoride levels than over the counter toothpastes.  At times a custom tray may be made to hold fluoride against the teeth for longer periods of time than two minutes brushing and one minute rinse. The dentist and dental hygienist work together to recommend on a patient need basis.

Systemic fluoride can be found in city water in quantities measured in ppm or parts per million.  Lower amounts are found in some bottled water, well water and smaller communities.  Studies show children with a lower decay rate in larger cities due to the fluoride ppm in their public water.  Systemic fluoride can also come in the form of fluoride tablets, commonly prescribed to younger children who’s water supply contain little to no fluoride. They are called polyfluoride vitamins and are usually taken up to age 5 or 6, but can go longer on doctors discretion.

In excess amounts, fluoride can cause  a dull discoloration in the teeth.  A polyfluoride vitamin would not be prescribed to a child who drinks water with a fluoride ppm .7-1.2.  This can cause excess consumption which will affect the adult teeth.  Swallowing excess fluoride from rinse and pastes in addition to systemic fluoride may cause fluorosis– white mottled area on the teeth to pitted and malformed enamel depending  on the severity. Fluorosis CANNOT be cause by topical fluoride.

Despite claims by certain extremist, fluoride has never been shown to cause cancer or other medical problems in over 50 years of large scale use in public drinking water.  It as greatly decreased the rate of tooth decay in areas it is used.

Salt in large quantities can cause issue in a person’s healthy, especially someone with high blood pressure.  Our bodies also need salt and just as you would watch (or should watch) salt intake, fluoride should be monitored as well.  Find out ppm in your drinking water. Most well and bottled water contains little to no fluoride. You can find public water records through your municipality or online with the CDC.


In conclusion, fluoride is safe and effective when used and consumed properly.  Polls consistently show that majority of Americans support water fluoridation. Water fluoridation has been proven both safe and effective.

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