Dietary fluoride

A good balance of dietary minerals is absolutely indispensable for the body to be healthy, and fluoride is one of those minerals.  It is known because it is frequently associated with dental health, because one of its principal characteristics and properties is that it helps keep bones and teeth healthy.  It also has another long list of benefits.

2172 Boy shows a finger up(8).jpgThis mineral is easily absorbed, and eliminated primarily through the urine.  Two of fluoride’s most noteworthy functions in the body are: it increases bone density and strengthens tooth enamel, making them more resistant to cavities.  The higher the concentration of fluoride in the teeth, the less risk of enamel being dissolved by bacteria produced acids.  Therefore, the less likelihood of cavities or other tooth and gum injuries.

Benefits of fluoride:

  • Prevents dental cavities and protects teeth, preventing the formation of plaque, which is harmful to the gums and the teeth in general.  It is fundamental for preserving tooth enamel hardeness.  In children, this correlation between fluoride consumption and the appearance of cavities has been proven.  The larger the amount of fluoride, be it natural or added to water ingested, the lower the percentage of dental cavities detected.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO) fluoride is the only truly effective element for preventing cavities when administered through water.
  • It is an indispensable mineral in good bone health. It strengthens them and improves their state, fighting osteoporosis and contributing to maintaining the bones’ mineral matrix stable.  It also increases bone density in individuals, which reduces the risk of bone fractures and injuries, among other things, especially in the elderly.
  • Helps prevent bacterial growth.
  • It will help you fight osteoporosis.

How much fluoride should I take?

The recommended dosage for fluoride as dictated by the United States and Canada: 4 mg/day for men, 3 mg/day for women, and between 2 – 3 mg for children and adolescents.  It is important to clear up that including too much fluoride could cause several contraindicated reactions like marks or discoloration in the teeth, decrease in mental abilities like concentration, unhealthy teeth with cavities, weak and sickly gums, calcium deficiency problems in the bones, like osteoporosis, among other things.

Fluoride toxicity:

Fluoride’s toxic effect is known as fluorosis, and takes place after excessive doses of fluoride.  In any case, fluoride intoxications are rare.

Sources of fluoride:

  • Running water is fluoride’s primary source
  • Black tea
  • Fish and seafood
  • Spinach and cabbage
  • Seaweed
  • Fluoridated salt is an effective vehicle for consuming sufficient amounts of fluoride.  Adding fluoride to salt can help reduce cavities in children.

Since a lot of these foods are not frequently included into our diets, dietary ingestion of this mineral could be low in most people, which is why it is advisable to include these foods in your diet, especially during growth periods and advanced age.

Fluoridation:

This is a method in which a food is enriched by adding fluoride.  This method began to be used in Switzerland, in the 1950’s, and from there, spread to several countries.  This technique is also used to enrich mouth washes to prevent tooth decay.

If running water in a country is not rich in fluoride, you can add it yourself.  Make sure that the concentration does not exceed 1 ppm (1 mg/liter), which is the maximum healthy recommended amount.  

In some countries, when needed, professionals deem it appropriate to administer pills of drops of fluoride preparations to children during periods of growth.  This is done to ensure good mental and dental development.  You must, therefore, check the amount of fluoride in your region to avoid lacking this important mineral.

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