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Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: Fluoride
By Marybeth on Friday, July 30, 1999 - 12:53 pm:

I have heard that the tap water in Tokyo is not fluoridated -- is this indeed the case? If so, what fluoride supplements for children (e.g. Poly-vifluor liquid or tablets, etc.) are available in Japan?

Thanks for any info!

By Cornelia on Sunday, August 22, 1999 - 9:45 pm:

I asked a friend of mine regarding Marybeth's question, and here is his answer:

22 Aug 1999
From: Dr. Kaz Matsuki

Yes, she is right. The tap water in Japan is not fluoridated, because some dentists do not believe in fluoride, saying it may do harm to environment.

You can get fluoride in Japan only from tooth paste. Just ask your home doctor in America to prescribe fluoride.

By Jean on Friday, September 17, 1999 - 1:40 am:

The following quote was taken from:
_Japan Health Handbook_ by Meredith Enman Maruyama, Louise Picon Shimizu and Nancy Smith Tsurumaki, all nurses, published by Kodansha, ISBN 4-7700-1838-X, 2,300.
Fluoride paint can be applied to the teeth at public health centers (see the schedule printed in your local health news bulletin) and at pediatric dentists, both for a fee.

"I took my son to a dentist recommended by my neighbor. The dentist was very polite and answered all my questions. He checked my son's teeth carefully, but in the end could not do what I had really come for -- to have my son's teeth painted with a fluoride solution. The dentist had very few young patients so did not keep that medicine in stock. I was shocked that something so basic was not to be found in every dentist's office. Later I was angry for not checking when I called for an appointment."

Fluoridated water is not a part of preventive dental care in Japan. The Japanese have never accepted the addition of fluoride to the water to prevent cavities because of worries of unknown long-term side effects and a philosophy of not forcing people to take an unwanted medication. All drinking water in Japan is treated so that it contains no more than 0.8 ppm. Depending on the area, the fluoride content of drinking water may be very low or up to 0.8 ppm in areas near natural hotsprings. In comparison, the United States has set a maximum limit of 4 ppm, recommending between 0.7 and 1.2 ppm. In Britain, opinion is still divided over whether addition is beneficial; the Netherlands and Germany have banned the practice. Oral fluoride tablets are not available.

Fluoride (fusso) toothpaste (W and W by Lion, G.U.M. by Sunstar, and Clinica DFC by Lion) is widely available. Colgates is sometimes available. Foods such as soybeans, miso, fish (small shrimp, shellfish, etc.), seaweed, coffee and tea contain small amounts of natural fluoride.

By Anonymous on Friday, September 17, 1999 - 7:30 pm:

I know my local dentist here in Soka offers topical fluoride treatment, although it is NOT covered by National Health Insurance. I haven`t availed myself of it yet, though, as my son and I just returned from a visit to the States, where he had a topical treatment and got a prescription for Poly-vi-flor.

By Cornelia on Sunday, June 25, 2000 - 10:57 am:

Today my daughter paid her first visit to a dentist which I'll write up for a different discussion, but the subject of flouride came up at the end of the visit and I thought I'd share it here.

The doctor said that some drugstores carry an over the counter product that is applied to the teeth after brushing and rinsing at home. He showed me the product in his office. It was I think an American brand called "Perfect Choice". The front of the tube or bottle was in English and the back was in Japanese. Here is what the front said:

Home Gel:
Stannous Flouride Gel
ADA Accepted (American Dental Association)
Grape (2 oz) -tube
Pink Bubble Gum (4.3 oz) -small plastic bottle

Other flavors were orange and mixed berry, I think. And of course the active ingredient was some very small percentage.

After returning home, I promptly went to the large drugstore across the street to see what they carry. Sorry, but there wasn't any Flouride Gel. There were only 50 and 60 gram tubes of children's toothpaste (some with Ampaman or other Japanese cartoons on them) at about 145 yen. I wasn't able to read the ingredients to determine if flouride was in the toothpaste or not.

The dentist had these for sale in his reception area (about 700 yen). It seems that even if this is now available over-the-counter, it hasn't caught on very wide and far yet. If anyone finds this in a shop somewhere, perhaps they could post the name and price, name of store, etc. here in this discussion.

By Juliane Suzuki on Monday, June 26, 2000 - 12:45 pm:

In response to Claudia's post about the ingredients in the typical Anpanman toothpaste produced by Lion Corp. they are as follows: sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, Paraben (preservative) and flavour (i.e. strawberry). I personally use colgate containing fluoride (sent from home), which also contains an array of chemicals, but NO sugar.

One thing I dislike about kids toothpaste in Japan is the added flavoring, which seems to encourage the kids to use too much. My dentist back in Australia told me to use adult colgate (as opposed to kids colgate) once the kids were over two, but to make sure they were not putting too much on their brushes.

Too much of any of these chemicals found in most personal care products can be harmful (according to the experts), but rather than stress out too much about it, I just make sure I put the toothpaste on the brush and let the kids do the rest.

Unfortunately for daycare they have to have a toothbrush set and the only one I could find was Anpanman and Kitty Chan, so they do use that at daycare.

By Karen on Friday, May 31, 2002 - 12:57 pm:

Japanese children's toothpaste (including the Ampanman type Cornelia mentioned above) generally contains fluoride here - it also comes in delicious grape flavour.

Maybe we should celebrate that our water is unflouridated here. Check out:

By Cornelia on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 11:17 am:

I had to take my daughter to the dentist again and happened to have my digital camera with me. So here is a photo of the "HomeGel" that I described in the post above dated 25 June 2000 !

It's a 0.4% Stannous Flouride Gel with Xylitol and the flavours are "Wild Berry", "Cool Mint", "No Flavor", "Pink Bubblegum" and "Juicy Grape". This place only had the 2 oz. tubes. We are not using this stuff ourselves. My daughter's teeth are just fine so far.

photo of the flouride gel at the dentist's

PS. I also copied down the phone numbers on the pamphlet, either 0120-500-418 or 03-3801-0151 and fax is 03-3801-0188

By Nancy on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 1:15 pm:

The Home Gel as shown in the photo posted by Cornelia is available over the counter at the pharmacy where Tokyo Medical & Surgical is located. (Mori Building opposite Tokyo Tower). This gel type of fluoride is considered to be more effective than the spray type that is available at HAC drug.

By Mum2one on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 4:24 pm:

I just noticed on the US Embassy website that Tokyo does in fact have fluoride in it's tap water - no more than 0.8mg per litre.

I have been giving my 16 month old daughter fluoride supplement tablets as I was under the impression that there was no fluoride in the water here! Hopefully I haven't been overdosing her as the last thing I want is for her to get fluorisis!

By Tesselator on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - 6:03 pm:

Those of you fluoridating your children by ingestion should stop immediately! Fluoride is an accumulative poison and should not be added to ANY water supply and should NOT under any means be ingested! Fluoride is affective and beneficial ONLY when applied directly to the teeth and when using a product that contains fluoride such as toothpaste, extra care should be taken to rinse any excess materials.

If you are living in an area where the water supply is fluoridated you should invest in a water filter that can remove it. Many slow filters are available that will remove it. You should also filter your shower and bath water.

Here's something to listen to on the subject. It starts after a break and after the topic of "Fluoride In The Water" was announced. Give it a listen:

Remember, don't feed your child fluoride but toothpaste can be beneficial after you teach them to rinse well.

By Tesselator on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - 7:23 pm:

This link may also be of interest for those of you who enjoy reading and are open minded enough to at least question the status quo:

By Miller on Monday, April 14, 2008 - 11:35 pm:

Tesselator is absolutely right. Fluoride is an extremely toxic substance. Numerous studies have linked it to cancer (especially bone cancer in adolescent boys) and Alzheimer's among other ailments. Please DO NOT give this poison to your kids. In fact, I would go one step farther than Tess, and strongly recommend avoiding any fluoride based dental hygiene products, with any amount of rincing. It may be true that the amount absorbed by the body by toothbrushing is unlikely to cause major problems during childhood, but it accumulates in body fat (particularly the brain) and over a period of years, and wreaks havoc in later years. And there is very little evidence that it is beneficial for dental health anyway. Even if there were, given the choice of cavities or cancer/alzhiemer's, I think cavities are clearly the lesser evil. Antibacterial toothpaste seems to be at least as effective at reducing cavities.

Bottled mineral water is a reasonable alternative for drinking, if the tap water is fluoridated. I don't think the tap water in my area is fluoridated, but my family drinks bottled water anyway, simply because it tastes much better. I've never heard that fluoride can be absorbed through the skin though, so I had never considered that showering in fluoridated tap water would be a problem. Or maybe Tess~ just means that small kids might swallow it?

Here are some links for further info:

By Tesselator on Friday, February 14, 2014 - 10:34 am:

Absolutely! But given the the apparent mind-set here I softened my own stance a little in order to appeal to their common sense.

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