Adequate Intake (AI)
The adequate intake is set at 4 mg/day.
Ninety-five percent of fluoride in the body is found in bones and teeth. It is considered important for the prevention of dental caries, although it is not considered an essential mineral. That is, it is not necessary for growth or to sustain life. Fluoride works through contact – so when it comes in contact with the teeth it is absorbed and helps to strengthen them.
A number of studies conducted prior to the introduction of fluoride-containing toothpastes demonstrated that the prevalence of dental caries was 40% to 60% lower in communities with optimal water fluoride concentrations than in communities with low water fluoride concentrations.
Toxicity/Excess/UpperIntake Level (UL)
The UL is 10 mg/day for adults.
Fluoride is found in municipal water that is treated with fluoride, in tea, toothpastes, and mouthwashes.
- Black tea – 3.5 fluid oz – 0.25-0.39 mg
- Rice (cooked) – 3.5 oz – 0.04 mg
- Chicken – 3.5 oz – 0.015 mg
Should We Actually be Using Fluoride?
Fluorosilicic acid is the type of fluoride most commonly used in municipal water. It is a by-product of phosphate fertilizer manufacturing. Most developed countries do not fluoridate their water.
I do not have strong opinions about fluoride – it would take some time to really research the topic. I live in Portland, OR where the water is not fluoridated. I therefore do not drink fluoride. I did before I moved to Portland, but I am aware that fluoride filters are available. Because fluoride is not an essential mineral and because I do many things to prevent the formation of dental caries such as not consuming sugar, and because I do not have a history of dental caries, it does not appear that fluoride is a great choice for me as there are potential adverse effects associated with its usage.