Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in water. It's often in toothpaste and other dental products to prevent tooth decay and reduce cavities. It's a controversial topic, but a dentist told Fox 4 the right amount can be beneficial.
"Going back in history to the early 50s, fluoride has been a very controversial subject. Some people want to have it, some people don't want to have it. But the bottom line is, most people would agree and are knowledgeable to the fact that it does reduce dental cavities," Dr. Fred Guerra of Guerra Dental said.
He said there is a particular amount of fluoride that's healthy for your teeth.
"The American Dental Association recommends an amount. About .7 parts-per-million of fluoride, which is optimal in the drinking water," Dr. Guerra said.
Some water systems have naturally occurring fluoride. Others add it to the drinking water. Some water plants throughout Southwest Florida fluoridate the water, except in Charlotte County.
Dr. Guerra said there is such thing as too much fluoride.
"There is a little problem with something called fluorosis. Some children may get some white pitting or staining on their teeth, which is actually (an indication there is) too much fluoride," Dr. Guerra.
Dr. Guerra said one way your child could be getting to much fluoride is by not using the right amount of tooth paste.
"If your child filled up his toothbrush with too much toothpaste and they're swallowing it, then they are giving themselves maybe too much fluoride, which may contribute to that fluorosis. So a tiny half a pea size on the toothbrush for those parents that are monitoring their kids is more than enough for them to get the job done," he said.