Is fluoride safe?
4. Fluoride toothpaste has an excellent safety record.
Millions of Americans use fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities and protect their teeth without any negative effect. Warning labels on toothpaste simply reflect the fact that toothpaste has a high concentration of fluoride.
- Fluoride toothpaste is recommended for babies and toddlers by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Dental Association.
- Of course, parents are advised to supervise their children when brushing teeth to prevent unnecessary swallowing. For young children, whose teeth are still forming, swallowing toothpaste can lead to fluorosis, a minor change in appearance of the teeth.
- For more information, see Toothbrushing Tips for Young Children.
5. The fluoride added to drinking water is regulated for safety.
Fluoride is a mineral that is mined from phosphate rock. In nature, fluoride dissolves into water and is found in water throughout the world. Much like iron and calcium, fluoride is also present in a wide variety of consumer products.
- Fluoride is mined from phosphate rock, a process that also results in ingredients for other consumer products. For example, phosphoric acid is added to beverages like Coke and Pepsi. Although fluoride is extracted from the same phosphate rock that is used to create fertilizer, it is not a by-product of the fertilizer industry.
- The quality and safety of fluoride additives are ensured by Standard 60, a program commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Standard 60 is a set of standards created and monitored by an independent committee of health experts. This committee provides regular reports to the EPA.
6. Well water in some locations can have too much natural fluoride
In some U.S. communities, the natural fluoride levels in well water or aquifers are unusually high, sometimes higher than the recommended amount in public water systems, according to the National Research Council.
- In 2006, a National Research Council (NRC) report raised concerns about high levels of fluoride but stated that its report was not an evaluation of community water fluoridation, which was “outside the scope of this report and is not evaluated.”
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote that the NRC’s findings “are consistent with CDC’s assessment that water is safe and healthy at the levels” used for water fluoridation.