Fluoride (patient information)

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Why this medication is prescribed

Fluoride is used to prevent tooth decay. It is taken up by teeth and helps to strengthen teeth, resist acid, and block the cavity-forming action of bacteria. Fluoride usually is prescribed for children and adults whose homes have water that is not fluoridated (already has fluoride added).

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How this medication should be used

Fluoride comes as a liquid, tablet, and chewable tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken once daily. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take fluoride exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

The fluoride liquid may be taken straight from the bottle or mixed with cereal, fruit juice, or other foods. Use a dropper or an oral syringe to measure out your dose. Tablets may be dissolved in the mouth, chewed, or added to drinking water or fruit juice. Tablets also may be added to water for use in infant formulas or other food.

Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities; it is not a substitute for brushing or flossing.

Special precautions

Before taking fluoride:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to fluoride, tartrazine (a yellow dye in some processed foods and drugs), or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially vitamins. Do not take calcium, magnesium, or iron supplements while taking fluoride without checking with your doctor.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking fluoride, call your doctor.
  • tell your doctor if you are on a low-sodium or sodium-free diet.

Special dietary instructions

Do not eat or drink dairy products 1 hour before or 1 hour after taking fluoride.

What to do if you forget a dose

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Side effects

Minor side effects

Fluoride may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if this symptom is severe or does not go away:

  • staining of teeth

Severe side effects

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • unusual increase in saliva
  • salty or soapy taste
  • stomach pain
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • rash
  • weakness
  • tremor
  • seizures

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

Storage conditions needed for this medication

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

Other information

Keep all appointments with your doctor.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

Brand names

  • ACT®
  • APF Gel®
  • Control Rx®
  • Fluorigard® Anti-Cavity Dental Rinse
  • Fluorinse®
  • Fluoritab®
  • Fluoritab® Liquid
  • FluoroCare® Dual Rinse Kit
  • Fluorofoam® APF One-Minute Foam
  • Flura-Drops®
  • Flura-Loz®
  • Flura-Tab®
  • Gel-Kam®
  • Gel-Kam® Oral Care Rinse
  • Gel-Tin®
  • Karidium®
  • Karigel® Maintenance APF Gel
  • Karigel® Maintenance-Neutral
  • Karigel® Professional APF Topical Gel with 0.1 M phosphate at pH 3.5
  • Luride® Drops
  • Luride® F Lozi-Tabs® Full-Strength
  • Luride® F Lozi-Tabs® Half-Strength
  • Luride® F Lozi-Tabs® Quarter-Strength
  • Minute-Foam®
  • Minute-Gel® with phosphate at pH 3.5
  • My Gel®
  • NeutraCare®
  • Neutra-Foam®
  • Omnii-Gel®
  • Pediaflor® Drops
  • Phos-Flur® Gel
  • PreviDent 5000 Plus®
  • PreviDent® Brush-On Gel
  • PreviDent® Dental Rinse
  • SF 5000 Plus®
  • SF Gel®
  • Stanimax® Ortho Rinse
  • Stop® Home Treatment 0.4%
  • Thera-Flur®-N Gel-Drops

Brand names of combination products

  • DentinBloc® Dentin Desensitizer containing Sodium Fluoride, Hydrogen Fluoride, and Stannous *Fluoride