Fluorides are found naturally throughout the world.
They are present to some extent in all food and water so that all humans ingest some fluoride on a daily basis.
In addition, fluorides are used by communities as a public health measure to adjust the concentration of fluoride in drinking water to an optimum level (water fluoridation); by individuals in the form of toothpastes, rinses, lozenges, chewable tablets, drops; and by the dental profession in the professional application of gels, foams and varnishes.
The availability of fluorides from a variety of sources must be taken into account before embarking on a specific course of fluoride delivery to either populations or individual patients.
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This is particularly important for children under the age of six, where exposure to more fluoride than is required to simply prevent dental caries can cause dental fluorosis.
Provided that the total daily intake of fluoride is carefully monitored, fluoride is considered to be a most important health measure in maintaining oral health.
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