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Fun with Fluoride

Fluoride can be found in natural water sources, community water supplies, and in many dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride toothpaste helps to strengthen your teeth while brushing removes the plaque, the bacteria that can cause gum disease and tooth decay!

 

Is fluoride good for my health?

Many cities have fluoride added to their drinking water. Drinking water on the coast of Labrador does not have fluoride added to it but there are ways for you and your family to get enough fluoride to protect your teeth against cavities and tooth pain. There is fluoride in most toothpastes and mouthwash, and everyone, even young children, should brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste.

 

Can fluoride ever be bad for my health?

Some people are worried about using fluoride, because they are concerned that too much fluoride may harm their stomach, or discolour their teeth. Even though there is a warning on the toothpaste label that indicates it should not be swallowed, fluoride used in the right amount helps to keep teeth healthy! The warning on the toothpaste tube is important for children. If a child consumes a large amount of toothpaste, it can cause some discomfort, and may be dangerous. A child up to the age of 3 should use fluoride toothpaste for healthy teeth, but only an amount the size of a grain of rice. The Canadian Dental Association recommends that an adult should watch young children brush to make sure they don’t swallow the toothpaste. After age 3, children it is okay to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

 

I have heard that fluoride may lower IQ levels – is this true?

A Harvard study that became popular on the Internet linked fluoridated water to lower IQs. That study used information collected from an area in China with 10 times the recommended dose of fluoride in their drinking water! Too much of a good thing can be harmful, and fluoride is no exception. Hundreds of studies show the benefits of fluoride when used in the right amounts.

 

Additional Resources

Canadian Dental Association Fluoride FAQs

Health Canada Fluoride and Human Health

Fluoride Q and A

American Dental Association: Toothpaste

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Contact our: Healthy Smiles Coordinator Michelle Clarke (709) 960-0342 healthy.smiles@dal.ca

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