Benefits Of Fluoride
Fluorine is a mineral found naturally in water, Earth’s crust, and various food products in the form of negatively charged ion of fluoride (F-). It is considered a trace element as only small quantities of this mineral are present inside the human body. Human adults contain about 2.6 grams of fluoride and its daily requirement to maintain dental health is just a few milligrams per day. The maximum amount of human fluoride is present in bones and teeth. Although known to be a trace mineral and not required for growth or sustenance of life, fluoride is essential for the prevention of tooth decay and dental caries and its deficiency is detrimental to the teeth. Apart from this, there are many other benefits of fluoride some of which are:
1. Beneficial for the teeth.
The primary function of Fluoride in the human body is to provide strength to the teeth and the enamel. According to experts, fluoride strengthens the teeth by intensifying the mineral composition of the teeth themselves.
2. Helps prevent bone loss.
Sufficient intake of fluoride strengthens the bone and prevents bone loss. About 95% of the body’s fluoride is stored in the bones and provides strength to the bones and the body.
3. Provides strength to the enamel.
During the absorption process Fluoride is absorbed in the stomach and in the small intestine. After reaching the blood stream, fluoride rapidly enters the mineralized tissue i.e. the bones and the developing teeth. Bones contain huge amounts of other minerals like calcium and phosphate which are known as hydroxyapatite crystals. Fluoride has a high chemical reactivity and the fluoride ion has a small radius. These two properties of the fluoride ion allow it to displace larger hydroxyl (-OH) ions present in the hydroxyapatite crystal, thus forming a compound known as fluoroapatite. These ions sometimes enter the space within the hydroxyapatite crystals and increase their crystal density. Both these reactions lead to the hardening of the tooth enamel.
4. Reduces acid production.
When optimum quantities of fluoride are consumed, they help to inhibit bacterial enzymes, thus resulting in a reduced amount of acid produced by carcinogenic bacteria that are usually found in human teeth. Thus, there is slower decay of teeth due to bacterial impact.
Although only a small amount of Fluoride is essential for the body, taking in large amounts over time gradually poisons the human body causing discolored, brownish mottled enamel on the teeth.
Very high concentrations, i.e. above 8 ppm can lead to bone disorders, liver, kidney, and adrenal failure. This is particularly dangerous in young children and elderly people and so any supplements of fluoride should be taken only after consulting a doctor.