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Common Uses of Sodium Fluoride

The chemical sodium fluoride is made up of a mixture positive-charged sodium ions and negative-charged fluoride ions. It is a white, soluble powder that dissolves quickly in water. Both fluoride and sodium both are essential minerals. The National Institutes of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adults consume 3mg of fluoride every day. While it can be poisonous if swallowed, sodium fluoride may be used in small doses in toothpaste or water. Many industrial applications also make use of sodium fluoride.


Fluoride works well to prevent dental decay, which is caused by bacteria causing damage to the tooth structure. So, sodium fluoride is used in toothpaste and other dental hygiene products. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sodium fluoride (the most common form) is used in toothpaste and fluoride rinses. Fluoride toothpaste that is sold in the United States contains approximately 1000 to 1500 parts of sodium fluoride per million. Ingestion of too much sodium fluoride could cause poisoning. To avoid this, only brush with a pea-sized amount. There are several symptoms that can be caused by sodium fluoride, including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and unconsciousness.

Water Treatment

Fluoride additives are added by public water treatment plants. This makes water one main source of fluoride. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the three main sources of fluoride are used in treatment systems. However, sodium fluoride is the preferred source for small-scale plants. The Environmental Protection Agency sets standards for the quality of all additives including sodium fluoride to ensure that drinking water is safe. According to the CDC and the EPA, too much fluoride can cause discoloration to teeth, especially in children. Accordingly to the EPA, the maximum amount of fluoride allowed to be added to water is 4 mg/L.

Industrial Uses

Because sodium fluoride can be poisonous, it is frequently used in pesticides. As per the Fluoride Action Network's list, this product can contain between 15 and 95 percent sodium fluoride. Different types and brands of adhesives and glues use sodiumfluoride as a preservative. The presence sodium fluoride stops the growth and reproduction of bacteria, yeasts, and mold. Also, sodium fluoride can be used to make aluminum and steel products. According to Environment Agency, sodium fluoride is added to the molten material to increase the deoxidation to produce a more uniform product. Other industrial uses include glass frosting and stainless steel pickling.