In the 1930's, it was discovered that high fluoride
intake was responsible for a dental condition known as dental fluorosis. High
incidences of dental fluorosis are associated with a lower incidence of dental
Although fluoride offers protection from dental
caries, there is still no evidence that fluoride is an essential nutrient for
Drinking water fluoridation is very common in the
U.S. due to the discovery of the inverse relationship of fluoride intake and
the incidence of dental caries.
The term fluorine is an elemental reference term that
refers to the unionized, atomic form of the element as opposed to the ionized
or fluoride form. The fluoride form is more predominate in nature and exerts
the physiological effects.
Approximately 75-90% of ingested fluoride is absorbed
from the GI tract.
High dose calcium or antacids of the aluminum
hydroxide type can decrease fluoride absorption.
In young or middle-aged adults, approximately 50% of absorbed fluoride is deposited in calcified tissues and 50% is excreted in urine. Up to 80% is deposited in bone and developing teeth in young children.
A high incidence of dental caries is associated with low fluoride consumption.
In humans, the only clear effect of inadequate fluoride intake is an increased risk of dental caries for individuals of all ages. Epidemiological investigations of patterns of water consumption and the prevalence of dental caries across different climates and geographic regions with different water fluoride concentrations in the United States, led to the development of a recommended optimum range of fluoride concentration. The range is 0.7-1.2 mg/liter or parts per million (ppm), with the lower concentration recommended for warmer climates where water consumption is higher, and the higher concentration for colder climates. A number of studies conducted prior to the introduction of fluoride-containing toothpastes demonstrated that the prevalence of dental caries was 40% to 60% lower in communities with optimal water fluoride concentrations than in communities with low water fluoride concentrations. 1
Adverse reactions are reported at doses from 5-20 mg
daily or higher.
5-10 gm of sodium fluoride at one time may be lethal.
Death can occur in 2 to 4 hours.
Chronic fluoride poisoning may result in dental fluorosis in children 8
years or younger and is characterized by mottled enamel and skeletal fluorosis
(which can occur in children and adults), characterized by bone pain,
stiffness, and limited movement.
Symptoms of acute overdosage include:
Supplementation is not recommended for children younger than 2 months.
Pregnant and nursing women should avoid fluoride intakes greater than the
The best source of fluoride is fluoridated water. Since fluoride is concentrated in animal tissues, other good sources include: beef, liver, chicken, pork, lamb, mackerel, salmon, sardines, teas and eggs.
The manufacture of many infant and toddler foods is processed in facilities using fluoridated water.
345 Dairy products interact with systemic fluoride due to formation of calcium fluoride. This complex is poorly absorbed. Consult with a physician or pharmacist when a special diet is recommended.
Information on the relationship between substances and disease is provided for general information, in order to convey a balanced review of the scientific literature. In many cases the relationship between a substance and a disease is tentative and additional research is needed to confirm such a relationship.
Bone & Dental Health: The use of topical and systemic fluoride for oral health has resulted in major reductions in dental caries. Fluoridation of public water supplies is officially the most effective dental public health measure in existence. Fluoride also plays a role in bone health, but its role in preventing osteoporosis is considered experimental.6
Researchers at the University of Liege gave 200 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis either 20 mg of fluoride plus 1000 mg of calcium or calcium alone for 4 years. Results suggest that low-dose fluoride given daily with calcium for prolonged periods of time can decrease vertebral fracture rates better than calcium alone in mild to moderate osteoporosis.7
Frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride each day is the best way to reduce the risk for dental caries in all age groups. A CDC work group recommends that all persons drink water with an optimal fluoride concentration and brush their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.8
The School of Dentistry at Charite, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany states caries can be prevented up to 40% by gels containing 1.25% fluoride if applied 30 times per year.9
The dietary supplement information contained on this site has been compiled from published sources thought to be reliable, but it cannot be guaranteed. Efforts have been made to assure this information is accurate and current. However, some of this information may be purported or outdated due to ongoing research or discoveries. The authors, editors and publishers cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions or for any consequences from applications of the information in this site and make no warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the contents herein.