The next non-essential micro element in our row is fluorine. It is well-known by many, controversial and today we will find an answer to the question “Is Fluorine toxic for Us – The Scaffolder”. That in combination with a wide use in daily products have led me to the decision to write a whole blog post about fluorine. We will also get to know, how much you need of it, from where you can get it and what else might be interesting about this micro element.
Why can we call Fluorine the Scaffolder?
Fluorine is found in most toothpastes and in most mouthwashes.
In the area of the dental medicine, the research-based standard seems to be crystal clear in favor of fluorine.
It helps to harden the enamel and therefore protects our teeth from tooth decay.
As fluorine is found in high amounts in teeth and bones, the medicinal statement could be confirmed as solid. But that this statement actually is built on crumble stones and the reason for that instability we are discussung in this article.
There is one fact, which is true. Fluorine is found in high amounts in teeth and bones to harden and to stable them.
So now we know that fluorine plays an important role in our body as it stabilizes our bone scaffold.
What is Fluorine?
Fluorine is a halogen, which is very reactive and in its free elemental form as F2 it is very poisonous to us. In nature, it is mostly found within inorganic compounds. As fluoride, it is found as enrichments in toothpaste, water and salt.
Fluorine, for now, is a non-essential micro or trace element, but it does not mean that it is not important for us.
What is the demand of Fluorine?
Depending on the age, health and lifestyle the daily demand for an average and healthy adult for fluorine is about
1000 – 4000 micrograms (μg) per day.
Where can you get Fluorine from (Top foods)?
Here are the Top foods, which are rich in fluorine:
1. Walnuts (up to 700 μg/100g)
2. Fish and black tea (up to 400 μg/100g),
3. Buckwheat (up to 200 μg/100g)
4. Iceberg lettuce, lamb´s lettuce and parsley (up to 100 μg/100g)
5. tap water and mineral water (around 70 μg/100ml)
In some countries in North America and in Australia tap water is fluoridated. In other countries like Germany and Japan, it is not fluoridated at all.
What are the functions and benefits of Fluorine?
Although fluorine is a non-essential micro element for us, it plays an important role in our body.
Let´s see for what fluorine is good.
The most important function of fluorine in our body is the hardening of our bone scaffold. Every bone, including our teeth and there especially the hull of the teeth, the tooth enamel, is getting harder when integrating fluorides. The hard structure develops as it is incorporated into apatite, which forms crystallized structures. Through the hardening of the tooth enamel, the teeth become more resistant to acids and therefore against the formation of tooth decay. Moreover, fluorine suppresses the enzyme activity of caries bacteria in the tooth enamel.
Pregnancy and first year
Fluoride seems to be also important during pregnancy as fluoride helps to support a normal development of the bone scaffold of the unborn and the newborn.
What deficiency symptoms of Fluorine exist?
A deficiency of fluorine is very seldom, as there is plenty of food with a high amount of fluorine in it. But also with lower amounts than the recommended, it does not necessarily have to lead to deficiency symptoms.
Only with a very one sided diet, the symptoms can be as followed:
What overdose symptoms of Fluorine exist?
An overdose of fluorine through nutrition in light forms is possible. Only specific compounds containing fluorine are much more toxic to us. The tolerance level in which fluorine doesn´t become toxic to us is very narrow, such as it is for selenium. The lethal dose for natural fluorine is 150-185 ppm. A regular supplementation of fluorine with a daily dose of more than 5 mg can lead to a fluorosis with the following symptoms:
- dental fluorosis (mottled teeth, mottled enamel)
- bone fluorosis
- bone fragility
- musculoskeletal disorders
- disorders in the kidneys
- chronic bone thickness
- probably harmful to the nervous system
What else may you have to consider about Fluorine?
Value in our body
The amount of fluorine in our body is about 3 – 5 g for a 70 kg person. About 95% of it can be found in the bones and in the teeth. Low amounts are found in skin, nails and hair.
Antagonists and Advice
In some areas of the world, like the USA the tap water is enriched with fluorine, which should prevent a deficiency.
Often industrially processed salt is also enriched with fluorine.
To harden the enamel a specific amount of fluorine bound to compounds is found in nearly all toothpastes.
But for a good teeth health the type of nutrition is much more important than the fluidization of the teeth. Therefore, fluorine enriched salt, water and toothpaste aren´t necessary for good looking and healthy teeth. The right type of nutrition, in this case, leaves out nameable amounts of white sugar and other processed and acid-building food. And it includes high amounts of fresh and natural vegetables, salad and fruits.
Just ask your dentist how tooth decay develops and why you should use surplus fluorine if your nutrition is alkaline-based.
Discovery and Use
Fluorine was first discovered at the beginning of the 19th century, but it took about 80 years until it was first isolated in 1886 as its free form.
The word “fluorine” comes from the Latin word “fluores”, which comes from the process called “fluorescence”, which was first discovered from fluorite or fluorspar. In this process, light is emitted, when the material is stimulated by light.
Coming to an end for this blog post, we can conclude that fluorine is very important for us, although its essentiality isn´t confirmed yet. We need fluorine for a strong and stable bone scaffold including our teeth, which are protected from tooth decay as well. We should be careful with fluorine-enriched products as the interval where fluorine becomes toxic to us is very narrow. Nuts, tea, fish and lettuce are good sources of fluorine in food.
Now to you. What do you think? What was interesting here or do you want to know something else about fluorine? Let us know in the comments.