What are the Different Ways of Receiving Fluoride?

Method of Fluoride Delivery Fl content Cost Pros Cons Comments
Water fluoridation 0.7 parts per million (ppm) 50 cents-$3/per person/per year Safe; minute amounts of fluoride over long period of time; convenient; consumers of all ages benefit. Small vocal minority fear any additives in the drinking water. Most effective and safest method of fluoride delivery; considered closest to nature’s way.
Fluoride tablets 0.5 -1.0 mg $50.00/year Safe, but was originally intended to be dissolved in water; systemic and topical benefits. Inappropriate use may cause mild fluorosis (white spots on the teeth); problem with compliance. Recommended for children living in areas that are not fluoridated.
Fluoride toothpaste 1,000 – 1,500 ppm $20.00/year Safe for topical use; provides topical benefits. Parents must monitor small children, as they tend to swallow toothpaste – only a smear (0-2 years) to a pea-size amount (2-6 years) is recommended.
Over-the- counter fluoride rinse 230 ppm $14.00/year Topical benefits; no systemic benefit; problem with compliance.
Topical Fl applied in the dental office 12,300 –     26,600 ppm $80.00/year Because of expense, not available to all; insurance pays for fluoride treatments only for children.
Prescription Fluoride gel  5,000 ppm $51.00/year Not suitable for children; problem with compliance; unpleasant taste.