What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a trace mineral naturally present in many foods and available as a dietary supplement. Fluoride is the ionic form of the element fluorine, and it inhibits or reverses the initiation and progression of dental caries (tooth decay) and stimulates new bone formation.

Soil, water, plants, and foods contain trace amounts of fluoride. Most of the fluoride that people consume comes from fluoridated water, foods and beverages prepared with fluoridated water, and toothpaste and other dental products containing fluoride. Fluoride is absorbed in the gut and stored in bones and teeth. Children absorb fluoride more efficiently than adults, as their teeth and bones are rapidly forming.

Fluoride Benefits

  • Improves dental health
  • Stimulates bone formation
  • Prevents cavities
  • Antifungal properties

How much fluoride do you need per day?

  • Adult Women: 3 mg
  • Adult Men: 4 mg
  • Pregnant/Breastfeeding Women: 3 mg

Natural sources of fluoride

  • Brewed black tea and coffee
  • Fluoridated water
  • Shellfish, including shrimp and blue crab
  • Oatmeal
  • Raisins
  • Potatoes

Learn about fluoride deficiency symptoms.

Further reading: Harvard School of Public Health, National Institutes of Health