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Fluoride Supplement Information & Facts

Fluoride supplements are usually given in conditions where children are not exposed to fluoride and are likely to be prone to develop more cavities. Let's look at the information and facts about fluoride. In most developed countries, fluoride was always added to the water supply. This however, has reduced in the last few years. This has lead to a general deterioration in dental health.  Fluoride has been known to reduce not only cavities, but scurvy too.

Fluoride ingested improves tooth enamel, making the teeth strong and resistant to decay.

Fluoride is basically a naturally occurring mineral, much like calcium and iron. This particular mineral is believed to have fewer risks and sometimes doctors suggest taking supplements for fluoride. There is no dosage for fluoride, but drinking water with fluoride is the best way to get fluoride. Fluoride supplements can also be good for adults, not only children. A deficiency of fluoride is known as fluorosis. A mild deficiency results in white patches on the teeth, while an acute deficiency results in brown patches on the teeth and a definite weakening of the enamel.

The ingredients in fluoride include fluorine. Fluoride is a naturally occurring halide and is a reduced form of fluorine. Fluoride is also the most common ingredient in toothpastes as it is used to prevent cavities. In the US, the ratio of fluoride to the other ingredients is about 1000 to 1100 per million parts fluoride. In UK and Europe, it is usually a higher count.

Fluoride Supplements & Toddler, Babies And Infants Health

Infants often do not need any additional supplements as they get all their nutritional requirements from the mother's milk or from formula. As a toddler, if the child's drinking water with fluoride in it, there no need for additional fluoride. Doctors and pediatricians routinely prescribe fluoride supplements for toddlers and babies, but there is usually no nutritional requirement. There are no benefits to consuming additional fluoride in toddlers and in fact the risk of fluorosis greatly increases if kids are given additional fluoride.

In fact the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that for children under two, you should not even use toothpaste with fluoride, as children tend to swallow the toothpaste. The dosage for children between 3 to 6 years of age is about 0.50 mg if the local water supply has dissolved fluoride of over 3 million parts per million. The dosage for the same age group changes to 0.25 mg if the dissolved fluoride is between 3 and 6 parts per million.

Fluoride Supplements & Women's Health

Typically fluoride supplements and requirements are mentioned for kids and children till the age of 16, there are also times when adults need additional fluoride. Women have different periods in their life when they need additional minerals and fortification. Pregnancy and breastfeeding is one such stage. Pregnant women are given fluoride supplements, but there has been no conclusive evidence that it actually benefits the unborn baby.  If you are breastfeeding your baby, he is getting all his nutritional requirements from you and definitely does not need any additional fluoride supplements. In fact doctors discourage giving fluoride supplements to babies younger than 6 months.

Fluoride supplements are also sometimes given to women who are prone to or suffer from osteoporosis.  Fluoride supplements are given in order to prevent bone deterioration. Using fluoride for osteoporosis is still an experimental treatment due to its side effects. Dietary fluoride supplements are also used to treat patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.

Side Effects

The side effects of using fluoride dietary supplements include acute stomach pain, joint pain and pain in the extremities. Normal doses of fluoride are good for you, even if taken orally. When you start taking higher doses, it can cause irreversible and detrimental effect on your health. Higher doses of dietary fluoride can weaken bones, muscles and the nervous system. High doses in children can lead to discoloration of gums, leading to damaged permanent teeth. High doses of fluoride during pregnancy also should to be avoided. Studies have also shown that use of fluoride supplements in the first 6 years of life can lead to a higher incidence of fluorosis. Fluorosis in children has also been linked to kidney damage and bone fractures.

Sometimes, while taking supplements, you might overdo it. In that case, you might see symptoms like vomiting with nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, muscle stiffness, loss of sensation or a tingling sensation and in really severe cases, even seizures. You need immediate medical attention if you exhibit any such symptom.

Most dietary fluoride supplements are not available easily and need prescriptions. You should consult your healthcare operator or doctor before taking these supplements. Sometimes switching to a balanced diet is a better bet, as fluoride is also found in some naturally occurring items.

Submitted on April 18, 2012