What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in soil, water, and some foods. This mineral is also commonly added to tap water to help prevent tooth decay (cavities), by strengthening tooth enamel against acids causing decay.
Does the drinking water in Windsor-Essex contain fluoride?
The City of Windsor, Tecumseh, and LaSalle presently have fluoride, whereas the rest of Windsor and Essex County does not have fluoride in their community water. Currently, the decision to add fluoride to community water systems occurs at the municipal level. Health Canada provides the guidelines for fluoride levels in drinking water at a Maximum Acceptable Concentration of 1.5 mg/L. Water that is at or below this recommendation poses no risk to human health. However, the optimal concentration of fluoride in drinking water to support good dental health is 0.7 mg/L. View Health Canada's information on fluoride.
Can too much fluoride be harmful?
For children under the age of eight, exposure to fluoride amounts beyond the recommended levels increases the risk of developing fluorosis, a discoloration of the tooth enamel.
How can I manage my fluoride intake?
To maximize the benefits of fluoride and to avoid potential harmful effects, follow the guidelines listed below:
- Some infant formula may already contain fluoride. Before you add water ensure you read the product label. If you live in an area with naturally occurring high levels of fluoride (higher than the guideline of 1.5 mg/L- the maximum acceptable concentration), Health Canada suggests you mix the formula with drinking water with a lower fluoride concentration level.
- Children under three years old should have their teeth and gums brushed by an adult using only water, unless at risk (i.e., there is no fluoride in the drinking water). If at risk, fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice should be smeared onto the toothbrush.
- Children three to six years old should be assisted with brushing their teeth and should only use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Adults require no additional fluoride treatments (other than using fluoride toothpaste) unless advised by their dental professional.