Ask a Dentist: Is Fluoride Good or Bad for Teeth?

Ask a Dentist: Is Fluoride Good or Bad for Teeth?

Posted by Alencar Family Dentistry on Jan 23 2020, 04:18 AM

Fluoride in small doses is critical for the proper development of permanent teeth in children. Additionally, it aids in protecting tooth enamel against acids and decay and remineralizes the teeth. When you see the dentist for a routine cleaning, they may recommend fluoride treatment or using fluoride toothpaste. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits and potential risks of using fluoride.

How Your Body Processes Fluoride 

Fluoride is processed in the stomach and released into the bloodstream no matter if the source is supplements, water, or food. Fluoride is also available as topical treatments, in toothpaste, or in dental rinses. 

Topical fluoride treatments increase fluoride levels in the mouth for several hours after application and are more effective than toothpaste and mouthwashes. They are administered in-office by a dental professional as a foam, gel, or varnish. 

Fluoride supplements are recommended for children aged six months to sixteen years who live in areas without fluoridated water. 

Possible Risks Associated with Fluoride

Fluoride toxicity can cause diarrhea, stomach discomfort, vomiting, headaches, fever, excessive salivation, muscle weakness, and tremors.

Ingestion of toothpaste as the teeth develop can lead to a condition known as fluorosis. Mild fluorosis appears on the teeth as white dots and is usually unnoticeable in most individuals. Excessive ingestion of fluoride such as in places with a high content of fluoride in water may darken the enamel. 

Taking Preventative Measures

When used appropriately, fluoride is helpful and healthy for the teeth. City authorities conduct routine inspections of water fluoridation systems to verify that the fluoride levels are safe for human consumption. Parents are often encouraged to monitor their children's exposure to fluoride items in the home.

According to the American Dental Association, fluoride supplements should only be administered to children at high risk of developing cavities. A small dosage should be administered based on the child's age, their likelihood of developing cavities, and the fluoride levels in the water. 

Small children should be monitored when brushing their teeth as they are more likely to ingest toothpaste than spit it out. 

By practicing appropriate oral hygiene and seeing the dentist for regular examinations, you can easily avoid dental problems such as tooth decay without requiring fluoride treatment. 


To learn more about fluoride and whether it is good or bad for your teeth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jayme A. Oliveira Filho at Alencar Family Dentistry. To get in touch, call (757) 546-0301, book on our website, or visit us at 711 Greenbrier Pkwy Suite 101, Chesapeake, VA 23320.

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