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The trace element fluoride is mainly found in bones and teeth in the body and, along with other minerals, ensures the strength of these structures. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and thus has a preventive effect against the development of caries. In children up to the age of six, however, care should be taken when handling fluoride: their body tolerates significantly lower amounts, which makes it easier for an overdose to occur. For this reason, toothpaste for adults should never be used in babies and young children.
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- Where is fluoride found?
- How much fluoride do we need?
- Too much / too little fluoride
Where is fluoride found?
Fluoride is only found in small amounts in most foods. Sea fish (sardines) and black tea are considered good sources. In addition, grain, liver and meat contribute to the supply of fluoride. Mineral and drinking water also provide fluoride. The content in drinking water can, however, vary greatly from region to region. This can be requested in the respective region from the municipal office / citizen service or the municipal authorities. In addition, fluoridated table salt is available on the market - usually in combination with iodination. In the interests of dental health, toothpastes usually contain fluoride.
Caution: overdose of fluoride in infants and young children
Children should be especially careful when handling fluoride, as they are more likely to overdose. The use and ingestion of fluoride toothpaste for adults or fluoride tablets for adults should be avoided at all costs. Special children's toothpastes have a significantly reduced fluoride content (<500 mg / kg), should also be easy to dose and used in appropriate quantities. If possible, swallowing the toothpaste should be avoided.
How much fluoride do we need?
The guide value for the total fluoride intake for adults (25 to <51 years) per day according to the DA-CH reference values is 3.8 mg (men) and 3.1 mg (women) - this value also applies to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
You can find out more about all age groups or groups of people as well as gender in the DA-CH reference values. For more information, see Covering Your Daily Mineral Requirement.
Too much / too little fluoride
- Fluoride is acutely toxic in very high doses. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Chronic minor overdoses - especially in children up to 8 years of age - can lead to changes in the enamel, visible as stains and discoloration (dental fluorosis). If fluoride is consumed in very high amounts over a long period or years, skeletal fluorosis can develop. This leads in a pronounced form to calcification of tendons and joint capsules and causes joint pain and stiffness, among other things.
- An undersupply of fluoride promotes the development of caries.
Further information is available from:
- Dental healthy diet
- Dental diseases: tooth decay, periodontitis & Co.