7 Side Effects of Consuming Fluoride You Should Know About

Tooth Discoloration. Consumption of too much of fluoride leads to yellowed or browned teeth

Tooth Decay. High intake fluoridated water can lead to the weakening of enamel

Skeletal Weakness

Neurological Problems

High Blood Pressure



Exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during childhood, when teeth are developing, can result in mild dental fluorosis. There will be tiny white streaks or specks in the enamel of the tooth.

This does not affect the health of the teeth, but the discoloration may be noticeable.

Breastfeeding infants or making up formula milk with fluoride-free water can help protect small children from fluorosis.

Children below the age of 6 years should not use a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Children should be supervised when brushing their teeth to ensure they do not swallow toothpaste.

Skeletal fluorosis

Excess exposure to fluoride can lead to a bone disease Trusted Source known as skeletal fluorosis. Over many years, this can result in pain and damage to bones and joints.

The bones may become hardened and less elastic, increasing the risk of fractures. If the bones thicken and bone tissue accumulates, this can contribute to impaired joint mobility.

Thyroid problems

In some cases, excess fluoride can damage the parathyroid gland. This can result in hyperparathyroidism, which involves uncontrolled secretion of parathyroid hormones.

This can result in a depletion of calcium in bone structures and higher-than-normal concentrations of calcium in the blood.

Lower calcium concentrations in bones make them more susceptible to fractures.

Neurological problems

In 2017, a report was published suggesting that exposure to fluoride before birth could lead to Trusted Source poorer cognitive outcomes in the future.

The researchers measured fluoride levels in 299 women during pregnancy and in their children between the ages of 6 and 12 years. They tested cognitive ability at the ages of 4 years and between 6 and 12 years. Higher levels of fluoride were associated with lower scores on IQ tests.

In 2014, fluoride was documented as a neurotoxin that could be hazardousTrusted Source to child development, along with 10 other industrial chemicals, including lead, arsenic, toluene, and methylmercury.

Other health problems

According to the International Association of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), an organization that campaigns against the use of added fluoride, it may also contribute to the following health problems:

acne and other skin problems

cardiovascular problems, including arteriosclerosis and arterial calcification, high blood pressure, myocardial damage, cardiac insufficiency, and heart failure

reproductive issues, such as lower fertility and early puberty in girls

thyroid dysfunction

conditions affecting the joints and bones, such as osteoarthritis, bone cancer, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

neurological problems, possibly leading to ADHD

One review describes fluoride Trusted Source as an “extreme electron scavenger” with an “insatiable appetite for calcium.” The researchers call for the balance of risks and benefits to be reconsidered.

Fluoride poisoning

Acute, high-level exposure to fluoride can lead to:

abdominal pain

excessive saliva

nausea and vomiting

seizures and muscle spasms

Flouride exists in many water supplies, and it is added to drinking water in many countries.

It is also used in the following dental products:


cements and fillings

gels and mouthwashes


some brands of floss

fluoride supplements, recommended in areas where water is not fluoridated

Non-dental sources of flouride include:

drugs containing per fluorinated compounds

food and beverages made with water that contains fluoride


waterproof and stain-resistant items with PFCs

Excess fluoride exposure may come from:

public water fluoridation

high concentrations of fluoride in natural fresh water

fluoridated mouth rinse or toothpaste

untested bottled water

inappropriate use of fluoride supplements

some foods

Not all fluoride exposure is due to adding the chemical to water and dental products.

Some geographical areas have drinking water that is naturally high in fluoride Trusted Source, for example, southern Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and Africa.

Side effects

Possible side effects of excessive fluoride intake include:

discoloration of teeth

bone problems