Flouride is a naturally occurring element found in the soil, water, plants, and animals. Sodium flouride is regularly added to drinking water supplies, usually as 1 part per million parts of water, for its proven ability to reduce the formation of dental cavities by up to 70%. Flouride , along with adequate levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D is required to maintain strong bones and teeth.
When dietary levels of flouride are inadequate , bones can loss calcium and weaken, leading to a condition known as osteoporosis. Currently researchers are looking into the role of flouride in preventing osteoporosis, protecting against cancer and heart disease, and boosting the immune system. Patients have been found to excrete decreased levels of calcium, stronger bones, and reduced symptoms of osteoporosis, though there is concern of a increased tendency for form hairline fractures.
Flouride is not generally available as a supplement, though tablets are sometimes used in areas where the water is not flouridated. Good natural sources of include drinking water, seafood, and teas.
There is no current RDA for flouride, but estimates are that most people get from 1 to 2 mg. per day from food sources, and .2 to .6 mg per day from drinking flouridated water. Too much flouride can lead to discoloration and pitting of teeth. In amounts above 20 milligrams per day flouride can be toxic. The amount of this mineral found in water supplies poses no health risk, and carries benefits in the form of reduced incidence of tooth decay and gum disease.