Fluoride overdose

Poisoning from an overdose of fluoride.

Poisonous Ingredient 

  • fluoride


Where Found 

  • sodium fluoride tablets  
  • sodium fluoride liquid  
  • Tri and multivitamins with fluoride (Tri-Vi-Flor, Poly-Vi-Flor, Vi-Daylin F)  
  • fluoridated water  
  • some mouthwashes (ACT, Fluorigard)  
  • some toothpastes (Crest, Aqua Fresh, Colgate MFP)  
  • roach powders  
  • etching cream

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • body as a whole       o excessive salivation       o abnormal taste (salty or soapy taste)       o tremors       o weakness       o convulsions  
  • respiratory       o shallow respirations  
  • gastrointestinal       o nausea       o vomiting       o diarrhea       o abdominal pain  
  • nervous system       o shock

Home Treatment 

Give milk every 4 hours. The standard procedure is to induce vomiting unless the patient is unconscious or experiencing convulsions. Before inducing vomiting, contact Poison Control for verification.

If instructed to induce vomiting, the standard procedure is as follows:

  • Give the usual dose of ipecac syrup: 15 milliliters (ml) or 1 TABLEspoonful for children and 30 ml (2 TABLEspoonsful) for an adult.  
  • Follow with 1/2 glass or 4 ounces (oz.) of water for children or 8 to 12 oz. of water for adults.  
  • Repeat 1 more time in 1/2 hour if emesis has not occurred.

Before Calling Emergency 

Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
If you are concerned about a fluoride overdose or poisoning, seek emergency medical care immediately at your nearest emergency room. See poison control centers for the national telephone number. Take the container or a sample with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Induce vomiting.  
  • Use gastric lavage.  
  • Give milk or calcium in some form.  
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis) 
Extent of illness and chance of recovery are dependent upon the dose and time to treatment. If the patient survives for 48 hours, recovery is likely.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 5, 2012
by David A. Scott, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.