Frequent Questions

What can I do to limit my exposure to fluoride?

Talk with your dentist about the best use of fluoride to prevent tooth decay. In adults in the U.S., there is little concern about unwanted health effects even from the combined level of fluoride from all sources. The main sources of fluoride intake for a child are from swallowing toothpaste and from water. Fluoride toothpaste is effective for preventing tooth decay and does not contribute to fluorosis unless it is swallowed. Because children under 6 have poor control of their swallow reflex, they tend to swallow much of the toothpaste on their brush. Parents or caregivers should supervise their child's tooth brushing, ensuring that that the child uses only a small pea-sized amount of paste, spits out the excess paste, and rinses well after brushing. For parents of children under two years of age, check with your dentist before using fluoride toothpaste. Water fluoridation is beneficial for reducing and controlling tooth decay and promoting oral health in children and adults. Recent estimates of reductions in tooth decay can be credited to community water fluoridation. You can check with your local water supplier to see how much fluoride is in your drinking water. Because high levels of fluoride are generally the result of natural background levels, consumers served by private wells may want to have their water tested by a state certified laboratory. You can find one in your area by contacting your state water certification officer. Contact information for your state can be found at

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