Total fluoride intake and implications for dietary fluoride supplementation

J Public Health Dent. Fall 1999;59(4):211-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.1999.tb03272.x.


This paper reviews the history and validity of recommended "optimal" levels of systemic fluoride intake and the available information on levels of fluoride intake in young children from foods and beverages (including water), dentifrices, dietary fluoride supplements, mouthrinses, and gels. Most of the studies emphasize the substantial variation in ingestion among individuals. Often, a substantial proportion of individuals received fluoride well beyond the mean exposure reported in the study. Limitations in the existing data make it difficult to determine the total distribution of fluoride intake from all sources. Therefore, hypothetical combinations of possible daily fluoride intake from the three main sources (diet, dentifrices, and supplements) are presented for those aged 6, 12, 24, and 36 months, with associated mean intake per kg body weight. Findings suggest that some children exceed the "optimal" level of fluoride intake from single sources alone, while others can from a combination of sources. Moreover, if current recommended "optimal" levels, which have been derived on an empirical basis, are actually lower than what has been quoted in the literature, then more children could be ingesting excessive amounts of fluoride, which could increase their risk of developing objectionable dental fluorosis. The variation and complexity of fluoride ingestion from all sources should be considered in the evaluation of recommendations for use of dietary fluoride supplements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Beverages
  • Cariostatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Cariostatic Agents / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dentifrices
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fluoridation
  • Fluorides / administration & dosage*
  • Fluorides / adverse effects
  • Fluorosis, Dental / etiology
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mouthwashes
  • Risk Factors


  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Dentifrices
  • Mouthwashes
  • Fluorides