May 6, 2016

Fluoride

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What other names is Fluoride known by?

Acidulated Phosphate Fluoride, Atomic number 9, Calcarea Fluorica, F, Fluorophosphate, Fluorure, Fluorure d'Hydrogène, Fluorure de Phosphate Acidulé, Fluorure de Sodium, Fluorure Stanneux, Fluoruro, Hydrogen Fluoride, Monofluorophosphate, MFP, Nombre Atomique 9, Sodium Fluoride, Sodium Monofluorophosphate, Stannous Fluoride.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a form of the chemical element fluorine. It is used as medicine.

Fluoride is added to public drinking water to prevent tooth decay. Children who do not drink fluorinated public water because their homes use water from a private well often take fluoride tablets to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and mouthwashes so it can be applied directly to the teeth to prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride is also taken by mouth for treating weakened bones (osteoporosis) and for preventing bone loss in people with rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.

Effective for...

  • Preventing tooth decay, when fluoride is added to drinking water or included in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and other dental products.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Treating osteoporosis (bone loss). Fluoride taken by mouth continuously or cyclically (three months on, one month off) might increase bone mineral density, which is an indicator of bone strength. Fluoride seems to work better for improving bone strength in older women when combined with hormone replacement therapy. However, it's not clear whether taking fluoride actually reduces the chance of weak bones breaking.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Preventing bone loss in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Preventing bone loss in people with Crohn's disease (an intestinal disorder).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of fluoride for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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