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Fluoride is a compound consisting of fluorine and one or
more other elements. It occurs naturally in the body as calcium
fluoride and is found primarily in the bones and teeth.
we need it?
Small amounts of fluoride help reduce tooth decay. Studies
have shown that fluoridated water supplies can reduce dental
caries in children by 50 to 60%. Fluoride is also involved
in the maintenance of bone structure.
How much fluoride should I take?
There is currently no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for
fluoride. However, the National Academy of Sciences has deemed
the following amounts to be safe and adequate in a normal
- Adult men: between 1.5-4.0 milligrams/day
- Adult women: between 1.5-4.0 milligrams/day
- Children aged 7-10: between 1.5-2.5 milligrams/day
- Infants: between 0.1-1.5 milligrams/day
- Pregnant/lactating women: 3.0 milligrams/day
What are some good sources of fluoride?
The best source of fluoride is fluoridated water, which is
available in about half of all households in the United States.
Foods prepared with fluoridated water will also contain fluoride.
Natural fluoride is present in the ocean as sodium fluoride,
so most seafood contains some form of fluoride. Tea and gelatin
are also good sources.
What can happen if I don't get enough fluoride?
The most recognizable symptom of fluoride deficiency is an
increased incidence of tooth decay, especially in children.
Unstable bones and teeth are other signs of a lack of fluoride.
What can happen if I take too much?
Large quantities of fluoride intake can result in dental
fluorosis, a condition in which tooth enamel becomes dull
and unglazed with some spotting. At very high concentrations,
dark stains may appear on the teeth. Although unsightly, these
teeth rarely have any dental caries. Fluoride intake of 20
to 80 milligrams per day over a period of many years can cause
skeletal fluorosis, which causes the bones to be chalky and
Other Resources :
More You Know About Minerals
More You Know About Nutrition
Recommended Dietary Allowances,
10th ed. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1989.
Murray M. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements.
Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1996.
Stannard, et al. Fluoride levels and fluoride contamination
of fruit juices. Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry
Susheela AK, Jethanandani P. Serum haptoglobin and
C-reactive protein in human skeletal fluorosis. Clin Biochem
Dasarathy S, Das TK, Gupta IP, Susheela AK, Tandon
RK. Gastroduodenal manifestations in patients with skeletal
fluorosis. J Gastroenterol Jun 1996;31(3):333-7.