Fluoride has long been known to be beneficial in the fight against tooth decay. Fluoride is a naturally
occurring element, but can also be found in toothpaste, drinking water, and you can receive it from
treatments at your local dentist office.
However, there is such a thing as too much fluoride. Whether you get fluoride from a drinking source or
your dental care products, it’s important to know whether or not the amount you’re getting is safe and
beneficial for your smile.
Here’s how too much fluoride could negatively impact your teeth.
In children, dental fluorosis—the staining of the tooth enamel, especially in the grooves of teeth—can
happen as the result of too much fluoride. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends limiting
fluoride during this time and using a different water source if your water contains added fluoride.
Dental fluorosis presents as white spots on the teeth, which are usually a different shade of white than
your normal teeth. This type of damage is difficult to conceal, although a professional whitening may
Fluorosis can also cause damage to more than just your smile—people can develop weaker bones if they
consume extreme amounts of fluoride, which is uncommon.
How Much Is Too Much?
Fluoride does help prevent tooth decay in small amounts. Many people get the recommended amount
of fluoride from drinking water, juice, and soda.
Using dental products in combination with drinking water with fluoride can make it easy to exceed how
much fluoride you’re supposed to have, so it’s important to talk with your dentist to determine if your
fluoride consumption is appropriate.
Toothpaste or water is usually effective enough, although utilizing both of these has the potential to
lead to fluoride overconsumption. Discontinuing water with added fluoride keeps fluoride benefits to
the teeth and doesn’t carry their potentially harmful side effects to the rest of the body.
What You Can Do
Fluoride certainly has its benefits when it comes to oral health, so don’t discredit evidence that it does
help with tooth decay. Checking with your dentist can let you know how your fluoride consumption is
either benefitting or harming your smile.
It’s important to remember that babies and children under two shouldn’t have fluoride as there’s no
evidence that it helps. For children, remember that only a pea-sized amount is needed for bigger
children. For babies, the size of a grain of rice is acceptable.
For adults, you can also less toothpaste. Lots of toothpaste isn’t necessary to clean your smile.
Toothpaste contains levels of fluoride that are higher than that of water, so a smaller amount should
suffice when it comes to brushing your teeth.
How can you know if you’re getting too much fluoride? Making an appointment with your dentist can
help you determine if you’re getting too much. Through gauging whether or not your drinking water
contains fluoride to your toothpaste, your dentist can help you determine whether your teeth are
benefitting from your fluoride intake or being harmed by it.