Fluoride Action Network


Wide variations in fluoride intake among children make estimating fluoride intake difficult. This paper discusses the various sources of fluoride intake among children, beginning with a review of the fluoride concentrations of water and other beverages, foods, and therapeutic fluoride products. A review of previous studies’ estimates of fluoride intake from diet, dentifrice, fluoride supplements, fluoride mouthrinses, and gels, as well as total fluoride intake also is presented. Then, estimates of fluoride intake among young children of different age groups are summarized, and examples demonstrating the high level of variability of fluoride intake, both from individual sources and in total, are presented. Lastly, this paper discusses the implications of our current level of knowledge of children’s fluoride intake, and presents recommendations for the use of fluoride for children in light of this current knowledge. The major recommendations are that: (1) the fluoride content of foods and beverages, particularly infant formulas and water used in their reconstitution, should continue to be monitored closely in an effort to limit excessive fluoride intake; (2) ingestion of fluoride from dentifrice by young children should be controlled, and the use of only small quantities of dentifrice by young children should be emphasized; and (3) dietary fluoride supplements should be considered a targeted preventive regimen only for those children at higher risk for dental caries and with low levels of ingested fluoride from other sources.