Healthy places Water Fluoride Children and fluoride

Children and fluoride

In Ontario, the Maximum Acceptable Concentration  for fluoride in drinking water is 1.5 mg/L. This standard is set to the health needs of young children, who are most at risk of developing dental fluorosis (discolouration of the teeth). The standard is set after taking into account other sources of fluoride children may receive, such as toothpaste. More from Health Canada

Water with fluoride levels between 1.5 mg/L and 2.4 mg/L is still acceptable to drink for adults. However, young children in communities with natural fluoride above 1.5 mg/L should limit how much fluoride they receive from other sources. Health Canada also suggests in such cases that homeowners with young children consider using a water treatment system (e.g., reverse osmosis) or use other sources of drinking water. More

Oxford County does not add fluoride to its drinking water. However, in some communities-- such as Brownsville, Ingersoll, Lakeside, Springford and some areas with private well water-- naturally-occurring fluoride may be slightly higher than the recommended level of 1.5 mg/L.

Tips for reducing fluoride exposure for children in communities with more than 1.5 mg/L of fluoride in the drinking water

  • Use a non-fluoride toothpaste until age seven.
  • Do not use mouthwash or mouth rinses that contain fluoride.
  • Do not use fluoride supplements.
  • Although a fluoride treatment at the dentist has little chance of contributing to fluorosis, you may want to talk this over with your dentist.
  • Until children reach the age of seven, consider using water from a source with a lower fluoride level for drinking, cooking and mixing frozen fruit juices (e.g., non-fluoridated bottled water). You may also want to consider a water treatment device such as reverse osmosis to remove fluoride. Brita filters do not remove fluoride.
  • Use non-fluoridated water for mixing baby formula.


Reducing fluoride exposure in children in communities with less than 1.5 mg/L of fluoride in the drinking water

  • Use a non-fluoride toothpaste or no toothpaste until the child is three years of age, unless a dental professional advises otherwise.
  • Beginning at age three, use a fluoride toothpaste two times a day.
  • Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Teach your child not to swallow toothpaste but to spit out excess toothpaste and rinse well after brushing.

Health and safety
More information

Download the Technical Support Document for Ontario Drinking Water Standards, Objectives & Guidelines

Tips for reducing fluoride exposure adapted from Perth District Health Unit.