The body contains small amounts of fluoride, and the daily requirement for
maintaining dental health is only a few milligrams a day.  Due to those two factors,
fluoride is considered a trace element.  A low concentration of fluoride is naturally
found in drinking water and some foods, such as tea.  Since the ocean contains
natural sodium fluoride, most seafood contains fluoride.


Function of Fluoride:
Small amounts of fluoride help to reduce tooth decay and help to maintain bone
structure.  When dietary fluoride enters the blood stream,  it rapidly enters
mineralized tissue (bones and developing teeth).


Deficiency of Fluoride:
Fluoride deficiency increases the risk of tooth decay for individuals of all ages.  When
tooth decay is left untreated it can lead to severe pain, infection, tooth loss or
extraction, nutritional problems, and more serious infections within the body.  Studies
suggest that increased fluoride intake, usually from water fluoridation, decreases
tooth decay in children and adults.


Toxicity (Fluoride Overdose):
In high concentrations, fluoride is toxic and can cause death.  Fluorosis is a condition
which is caused by excessive intake of fluorine compounds over an extended period
of time.  It can cause yellowing of teeth, hypothyroidism, and brittling of bones and
teeth.  

Some studies suggest that fluoride consumption (in supplement form) can increase
the risk of Down's Syndrome, bone fractures, and cancer.


Caution: Eating natural foods that contain fluoride is the safest and healthiest way to
get an adequate supply of the nutrient.  Due to risk of toxicity, individuals should
always consult with a knowledgeable health care provider before starting doses of
supplements.  Before giving supplements to children, it is recommended that you first
consult with their pediatrician.  Also, some supplements may interfere with
medications.  If you are taking medication, it is recommended that you consult with
your physician before taking any supplements.  All supplements should be kept in
childproof bottles and out of children's reach.


Fluoride Food Chart (List of Foods High in Fluoride):

Tea 100 ml ~3.5 fluid ounces - (0.1-0.6 mg)
Canned sardines, with bones, 100 g ~3.5 ounces - (0.2-0.4 mg)
Grape juice 100 ml ~3.5 fluid ounces - (0.02-0.28 mg)
Fish, without bones, 100 g ~3.5 ounces - (0.01-0.17 mg)
Chicken 100g ~3.5 ounces - (0.06-0.10 mg)


Sources:

American Dietetic Association: Complete Food And Nutrition Guide (2nd Edition)
Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, CFCS

Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and More
Pamela Wartian Smith, MD, MPH

University of Maryland Medical Center - umm.edu

Linus Pauling Institute - oregonstate.edu

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
Eating foods that contain
sufficient amounts of fluoride can
help to prevent cavities and
tooth decay.  Foods that contain
a rich source of fluoride include:
tea and marine fish that are
consumed with their bones such
as sardines.    


What is Fluoride?
Fluoride, the ionic form of
fluorine, is not considered an
essential mineral element
because humans do not require it
or growth or to sustain life.  The
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