Fluoride: Nutrition for Strong Teeth

Some consider the trace mineral fluoride (a form of florine) an essential nutrient. Others don’t. Either way, most people get enough in their diets to stay healthy.

Fluoride bonds with dental and bone calcium as calcium fluoride, which protects the teeth from decay and may strengthen the bones. The mineral also is used experimentally for improving osteoporosis.

Sodium fluoride naturally occurs in seawater, and thus, in seafood. Most people probably consume about 1–2 mg of natural fluorides per day. With added fluoridated water and toothpaste, this level can be too much, so supplements aren’t necessary.

Many cities in the U.S. add this nutrient to the municipal water supply to prevent tooth decay, and many toothpastes and dental hygiene programs include it as an additive. Toxicity is of great concern worldwide. (The U.S. is the only industrialized country still fluoridating its water.) Deficiency may not truly exist, although it appears the absence of fluoride may predispose you to tooth decay.

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