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Fluorine Sources, Functions and Deficiency

Fluorine is one the most active element of halogen group. It belongs to the same group of elements as bromine, chlorine, and iodine. It is never found free in nature. In the body, it is found in combination with other constituents of the body. Natural water contains 3-12 mg of Fluoride per litre.

Ingested fluorides are completely ionized and rapidly absorbed, and distributed throughout the extra cellular fluid. The level is too low in blood and tissues. It is rapidly excreted in the urine.

Functions of Fluorine in Our Body

• Fluorine is essential for the normal mineralization of bones and the formation of dental enamel. Thus 96% of the Fluoride in the body is found in bones and teeth. The Fluorine and Calcium has strong affinity between them and work together, mainly in the outer parts of bones.
• Fluorine prevents dental caries, by reducing the solubility of the enamel in acids produced by bacteria. A very small amount of it may help in development of tooth, but excess of it causes dental fluorosis-endemic areas.

Natural Sources of Fluorine

The Fluorine is found in traces in water, and food. Sea food, cheese, and tea are good sources.

Daily Requirement of Fluorine

The safe and adequate RDA (recommended daily allowance) of Fluoride in the diet is 0.25 mg for children and 1.5 to 4.0 mg for adults. On an average we ingest about 1 mg of Fluoride daily from drinking water, and 0.25-0.35 mg from the diet. The drinking water should not contain more than 1-2 mg of Fluoride per litre.

In case of excessive content defluoridation of water should be done by adding two chemicals lime and alum in sequence followed by flocculation, sedimentation and filtration. Prolonged drinking of water containing Fluorine over 10 ppm, or handling of fluoride containing minerals can cause Fluorine intoxication, leading to pathological changes like increased density and hyper calcification of the bones.

Fluorine Deficiency

• Intake of large amounts causes dental and skeletal fluorosis. In dental fluorosis, initially the teeth lose their shiny appearance and chalk white patches develop on them, which is better known as mottled enamel. Later patches become yellow, brown or black. The skeletal fluorosis in older people affects the bones, tendons and ligaments. This is followed by pain and stiffness or the back, and later joints of both limbs and limitations of neck movements.
• Inadequate amount of fluorine result in dental caries. The dental caries are associated where fluoride levels are below 0.5 mg/litre in the drinking water.


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