Fluoride is an important mineral for strengthening your tooth enamel and preventing cavities. In the United States, small amounts of fluoride are added to public drinking water for these reasons, and the American Dental Association recommends fluoride toothpaste for adults and children over the age of six. However, in rare cases, people can be allergic to fluoride and experience a variety of symptoms if they ingest it.
Signs of a Fluoride Allergy
As with any allergy, a fluoride allergy and its accompanying symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some potential symptoms caused by an allergy to fluoride include cuts or lesions in the mouth, swelling of the tongue or face, headaches, muscle weakness, joint pain, nausea, and fatigue. With very severe allergies, fluoride can cause anaphylactic shock.
How is a Fluoride Allergy Treated?
Antihistamines may be prescribed for mild to moderate allergic reactions to fluoride, while a dose of epinephrine would be necessary for anaphylaxis. Someone with a severe fluoride allergy might want to carry an epi-pen around with them as a precaution in case they accidentally ingest fluoride. If you expect that you might have a fluoride allergy, you should definitely alert both us and your primary care physician.
You should avoid drinking tap water if you are allergic to fluoride, since almost all public drinking water in the United States is fluoridated. You can drink bottled water instead or purchase a water filter that is capable of removing fluoride from tap water. Some other beverages and foods that contain fluoride include soda, black tea, grapes and raisins, sports drinks, and processed foods like cereal and mechanically deboned meat, so you should be cautious of these items as well. When it comes to oral hygiene products, you can ask us about toothpaste options that do not contain fluoride. To learn more about fluoride allergies or to set up an appointment, call our office today.