Topics covered in this snack-sized chapter:
Fluoride is a trace mineral that your body uses in small amounts, mostly for strong bones and teeth.
Fluoridated water is credited with reducing the number of cavities in the teeth of children by 50 to 60%.
Fluoride can also stimulate bone growth.
It is an ingredient of bones and teeth that strengthens enamel, dentine, prevents tooth decay, and decreases dentine solubility.
In adults it also fulfills an important role in proper skeleton performance.
It has an influence on calcium and phosphorus balance.
During pregnancy it helps in iron absorption and prevents anemia.
Sea fish and other seafood
Infants and children:
- Birth to 3 years of age: 0.1 to 1.5 milligrams (mg).
- 4 to 6 years of age: 1 to 2.5 mg.
Adolescents and adults:
Even just a little over the recommended levels can cause:
- 7 to 10 years of age: 1.5 to 2.5 mg.
- Chalky white areas on the teeth
- Increased rates of cancer
- High death rate (up to three times higher in areas of high fluoride concentration in water supply)
- Sagging and wrinkled skin
Fluoride remains in the body for a long time, because it is incorporated into the bones.
Large doses of fluoride are extremely poisonous.
Excess fluorine can also cause fluorosis, a condition that adversely affects teeth.
In severe cases of over-dosing, fluoride toxicity symptoms include:
- Scleroderma (hard patches of skin)