A mineral found in drinking water and many foods, fluoride helps harden your tooth enamel and bones.

What are its health benefits?

In childhood, your teeth absorb fluoride as they form. However, fluoride is beneficial for adults too. In fact, researchers have shown that topical fluoride – that is, found in toothpaste, mouthwash and fluoride treatments – is important when it comes to fighting tooth decay. People who eat large quantities of fish and seafood (good sources of fluoride), for example in the Caribbean, have been shown to have stronger teeth and fewer dental caries (cavities).

This mineral also helps maintain your bone structure, and low doses of fluoride salts are used to treat rapid bone-loss medical conditions like menopause.

Do you have a deficiency?

The symptoms of a fluoride deficiency include:

  • Dental cavities
  • Weak teeth and bones

Find it in these foods

Fluoride can be found in the following food sources:

  • Seafood
  • Water
  • Calf liver
  • Tinned sardines
  • Salmon
  • Tea (not herbal)

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

There isn’t a recommended daily allowance, however, the suggested safe intake is between 1.5 and 3mg, depending on age and gender. Discuss this with your Clicks pharmacist.

It is available as a supplement but this needs to be prescribed by your dentist or doctor.

Know the overdose risks

Excessive intake of it may cause the side effect of defects in your tooth enamel. This could be in the form of white specks or streaks or noticeable discolouration of your teeth, ranging from brown spots to brown or black stains.

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in February 2015