Fluoride

What is it?
Symptoms
First Aid
Safety Tips
 

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in some food and water sources. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and is added to most toothpastes and many public water supplies.

Dentists or pediatricians sometimes prescribe extra fluoride for children who do not get it from their usual water supply (a private well, for example).

What are the symptoms of fluoride poisoning?

If someone swallows too much toothpaste or takes too many fluoride tablets, they may get a stomach ache or throw up. These symptoms usually happen within an hour.

Swallowing extra fluoride regularly for several weeks can cause other symptoms:

  • Spots on your teeth (white, yellow or brown)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint pain

What should I do if someone has swallowed too much fluoride?

If someone has swallowed too much fluoride, have them drink some milk and then call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222, chat online or text POISON to 85511. The poison center can also answer questions you have about fluoride.

  • Use just small amounts of fluoride toothpaste with young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dental Association recommend using a smear of fluoride toothpaste–about the size of a grain of rice–when brushing the teeth of children up to 3 years old, starting when the first tooth comes in. Children 3 years and older can use a pea-sized amount.
  • Keep fluoride supplements, such as tablets, drops and lozenges, in their original container and store them up high, out of the reach of children, in a locked cabinet if possible.

Last Updated: Thursday May 5th 2016