Fluoride is a trace mineral. It is present in the body in a very
small amount. Most fluoride in the body is found in the bones and
Although there is no recommended dietary allowance, the Food and
Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences has established an adequate
intake (AI) for fluoride:
infants ages 0 through 6 months = 0.01mg/day
infants > age 6 months = 0.05 mg/day
infants ages 7 to 12 months = 0.5 mg/day
ages 1 to 3 years = 0.7 mg/day
ages 4 to 8 years = 1 mg/day
ages 9 to 13 years = 2 mg/day
ages 14 to 18 years = 3 mg/day
males age 19 years or older = 4 mg/day
females age 19 years or older = 3 mg/day
The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs
recommends fluoride supplements beginning at 6 months and continuing until age
16 for children who live in areas where the water does not contain fluoride.
However, because foods processed with fluoridated water can contain significant
amounts of fluoride, all sources of fluoride in a child's diet should be
identified before beginning fluoride supplementation.
Some people have concerns about the safety of fluoridated water.
Fluoride has been studied for many years. The levels used in fluoridated water
pose no danger of harmful effects to health and help to greatly reduce the risk
of tooth decay and other periodontal diseases. Extensive research has proven
that communities with fluoridation of drinking water at a level of 1 part per
million do not have higher rates of
syndrome, or liver
disease. Still, about 46% of public water supplies are still not
The amount of fluoride in well water can vary greatly. Well water
should be tested to determine the amount of fluoride it contains. Home water
filters may remove a significant amount of fluoride from water. However, water
softeners do not seem to change fluoride levels.
Too much fluoride can cause mottled teeth or dental fluorosis.
Fluorosis can range from very mild to severe. Mild fluorosis causes chalky
white spots or patches on the teeth. These teeth are highly resistant to
cavities. Severe fluorosis causes the teeth to have brownish stains. The teeth
are healthy, but they are stained. Fluorosis usually affects people who drink
well water that naturally contains high levels of fluoride.