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How Much Fluoride Is In a PPM (Part Per Million)?

PPM Measure FluorideHave you ever wondered exactly how much fluoride is in your drinking water?  Usually fluoride is measured using the vague unit ppm.  The abbreviation ppm stands for parts per million.

Let's say that you run a test to find out how much fluoride is in your drinking water and you find that the fluoride level is 2 ppm.  That means that for every one million units of water, there are two units of fluoride.

The main problem with this measurement is that it's pretty hard for most people to actually visualize one million units of anything.

It's much easier to understand the fluoride content of water through the use of measurements that are more easily visualized and understood by our brains.

With that in mind, I've come up with some examples to help you visualize what one ppm of fluoride really represents.  I decided to use one ppm of fluoride since that is the average fluoride concentration in most fluoridated water.

I've used the rough estimate available from a few different sources online that there are about 90,000 drops of water in a gallon.  I'm also assuming you have pure fluoride in liquid form (which is a bit of a stretch, but use your imagination!)

How Much 1 PPM of Fluoride Really Is

If you poured 11 gallons of milk into a large container and added one drop of fluoride, you would have a concentration of 1 ppm of fluoride.

If you poured 21 2-liter bottles of Coca-Cola into a large container and added one drop of fluoride, you would have a concentration of 1 ppm of fluoride.

If you filled up an average size bathtub with water and added five drops of fluoride, you would have a concentration of 1 ppm of fluoride.

If you added 1/4 cup of fluoride to an average-sized pool (14 feet by 28 feet by 5 feet deep), you would have a concentration of 1 ppm of fluoride.

If you combined 28 and a half gallons of fluoride with all of the water that flows over Niagara Falls in an hour, you would have a concentration of 1 ppm of fluoride.

Conclusion

Hopefully with the previous examples, you can see that there is no exact answer to the question: How much fluoride is in a ppm?

The amount of fluoride varies along with the amount of the substance in which it is found.  A standard that is usually mentioned in dental textbooks is that 1 ppm is when there is 1 milligram of fluoride in 1 liter of water.

The amount of fluoride in our water is small, but it can go a long way in reducing tooth decay.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


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13 Comments |  Leave A Comment

  1. This was helpful. When you consider it like this, it sure makes the whole water fluoridation debate seem a bit blown out of proportion. I mean, one drop still has some effects. But my biggest frustration with those opposing water fluoridation is that they assume that because toxic levels of a substance are bad for you that ANY amount of that substance is bad for you. And that just isn't the case.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jane! I've found it interesting that the maximum allowable amount of fluoride in water is 4 ppm. Anything above that and it is considered toxic. There are also small amounts of many other toxins in our drinking water, however they are found in concentrations so low that they are not considered to cause harm.

  2. I had an anti-fluoride patient the other day that was saying he read somewhere that a pea-sized amount of toothpaste contains the same amount of fluoride in 1 liter of tap water (1 ppm). His argument was that the toothpaste labels says to call poison control if more than a pea-sized amount is swallowed (which it doesn't), and the same amount is in 1 liter of water. So he was wondering if he should call poison control every time he drinks more than a liter of water. It sounded ludicrous, but how much fluoride is actually in a pea-sized amount of toothpaste in comparison to 1 liter of water?

    • Hi Jake - I checked the labels on some toothpaste in my basement and did find the warning about swallowing "more than used for brushing." Your patient was obviously trying to make a point. It's interesting that they have the warning on the tube of toothpaste when, according to the ADA, it would take 5-10 grams of fluoride to kill you (there's < 1 gram in a tube.)

      Anyways, your comment did inspire me to write a post about this topic - you can find it here:

      Is There More Fluoride in a Pea Sized Amount of Toothpaste or a Liter of Water?

  3. Hi Tom, I'm a 3rd year dental student and interested in testing some different types of water filtration systems (specifically refrigerator water filtration systems). What would you recommend as the best method of determining amount of fluoride in a water sample? Thanks for your input!

  4. I appreciate the effort you put in posting this... But in order to calculate the actual level i might be consuming daily i need to know the measure of that "drop" is it 1 ml.. 2 or 3 ?

    fluoride is a toxin and even though many toxins in low doses can cure or prevent illness at higher doses they cause serious health problems.

    if you can elaborate on the measure of the drops used in your explanation it would greatly help me to know with more certainty where i stand in terms of my intake

    thank you

    • Hi Bob - Thanks for your comment. Right above the first heading, I stated that I estimated that there are 90,000 drops in a gallon. I got that number from a few different sources that I linked to above. That comes out to about 23 drops in a milliliter, so it's not a lot. I hope that helps.

  5. Fluoride is Poison! It's used in Nerve Gas,Nuclear weapons, causes cancer and when ingested. Caused the first environmental disaster. If you come into contact with pure Fluoride it will strip your flesh to the bone. Was used by Nazi's Soviets and still in use by US prisons to make people sterile and subservient. Continued ingestion creates weak and brittle bones. The EPA designates Fluoride as Toxic Chemical Waste! That means it goes into a landfill forever and ever until the end of time. There is 4ppm of fluoride in our water put there by our wonderful Government. if fish need 4ppm of Oxygen in water to live how do you think 4ppm of a deadly chemical is going to effect the human body. I have dental fluorosis. When my adult teeth came in they were/are spotted with white and yellow discoloration along with pitting. If the EPA designates Hydrochloric Acid safer than Fluoride you have no place arguing that it's ok and it's safe. It's poison I was poisoned you are being poisoned stop being a fool and open your eyes! Stand up fight against this darnit!

    • Right, the fouride is not the pure fluoride anyway,....it's dirty toxic junk. I've seen the pictures from where they get it....it's disgusting.
      It's water tyranny....they don't have to do that. We have flouride in toothpaste etc. It is making our country the sickest of all countries in the world. And reduces the IQ and it has dropped in the last 20 yrs...20 pts....sooo dumbing people down is their goal.
      Laura

  6. Your body can take a lot, it is a wonderful machine. You can eat junk food, fill up the arteries with fat, not exercise make your body incredibly acidic and still function. Your blood will clog together, but you will still draw breath and get enough life into yourself to go about your day to day life.

    It isn't about what kills, or what the body can take, it can take a lot, there are miracle stories out there.

    Sodium Fluoride NOT natural Fluoride

    It is about what quality of life you want for yourself and those you care about. Sodium Fluoride is incredibly toxic, its right up there in toxicity almost as toxic as arsenic, and more toxic than lead. Usually it isn't the medical grade fluoride you get in the lab either, it is the byproduct of industry,meaning you get all the stuff from industry too, including arsenic and other metals in some cases.

    Worse it is a mimic, meaning it takes the place of calcium, forming in clusters at certain points on your body, and in many cases causing the body to attack itself, its own enzymes to remove them. If you want healthy teeth get the real thing into your diet, calcium and phosphates, and remove the artificial substitute. There isn't a great deal of evidence that it helps teeth, but I can see why it would if you didn't care what you ate, and just put anything in your mouth (lacking calcium and phosphates).

    Solutions:

    Get distilled water as a clean slate, you can then add minerals if you like or just get them from food. Get filters for your showers and taps, or go all out and do a reverse osmosis filter on your house. Don't just be a sheep or parrot what I or anyone else says, and do the research your self into what the chemical sodium fluoride not natural fluoride actually is. If you really want to liberate yourself, distill your own rain water, or use a local fresh spring, and never have a water bill again :D. There are dentists that say its bad for you, those dentists usually get thrown out, as there is too much profit in making it seem good for you. Something like 1000 Australian dentists got together to try and change that.

    Conclusion:

    If after getting all the facts people want fluoride and its risks to their bodies, great make it optional. Why poison me or force me to spend my resources getting rid of the toxin, just because my next door neighbour wants it. This would pretty much remove all the fuss over the entire issue.

  7. LOVE the last 2 comments above mine ^
    Fluoride is poison and anyone that tries to make a lame theory of how it is safe, really needs to wake the hell up!

  8. Fluoride makes the population docile and complicit. It makes up 94% of the the pharmaceutical drug Prozac. Wake up!! It's a control mechanism, so there aren't any more social uprisings like they had in the 60's. Corporations even make money off of it by selling this toxic by-product of aluminum manufacturing. They don't have to pay to have in properly disposed of. They sell it to municipalities to put in their drinking water. Dentists are not neurologists, and have never studied the true effects of constant ingestion of fluoride. It is a toxin. Make no mistake.

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Tom, Creator of Oral AnswersHi, I'm Tom. I recently graduated from dental school and am now a dentist in Bridgewater, Virginia. I started this blog to help people take better care of their teeth. You can learn more about me or ask me a question.

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