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Fluorine – Necessary element needed for healthy teeth.

The importance of fluorine in nutrition was realized when high incidence of chronic endemic fluorosis in men and farm animals was detected in 1931 in certain parts of India. Fluorine occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust, water, and food as the negatively charged ion, fluoride (F-). Calcium and fluorine have a strong affinity. These two elements work together, particularly in the outer parts of bones. they are found in the enamel of the teeth and the shiny and highly polished bone surfaces.

Fluorine is pungent and corrosive. It belongs to the same group of elements as chlorine, bromine, and iodine. In the body, it is found in combination with other constituents of the body. Ingested fluorides are completely ionized and rapidly absorbed, and distributed throughout the extracellular fluid in a manner similar to chloride. However, the levels in the blood and tissues are so low that it has been difficult to make any reliable analysis. Fluoride is rapidly excreted in the urine, even by those suffering from severe kidney disease. The relationship of the urinary output of fluorine in comparison to the total intake is complicated and related to the state of the bones.

FUNCTIONS OF FLUORINE IN HUMAN BODY

– Fluorine is essential for the normal mineralization of bones and the formation of dental enamel.
– Fluorine prevents dental caries, by reducing the solubility of the enamel in acids produced by bacteria.
– The biggest importance of fluorine lies in the bones. The bones are formed of various apatite salts and this fluorine forms a major part of these salts.

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS OF FLUORINE IN HUMAN BODY

If the fluorine intake increases :
– Teeth show signs of mottling and wide spread damage to the teeth occurs.
– In dental fluorosis, initially the teeth lose their shiny appearance and chalk white patches develop on them. 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.

FOOD SOURCES OF FLUORINE

– Bengal grams, cereals like rice, some leafy vegetables and in dry tea leaves.
– Sea food.
– Cheese.
– Fruits like apples, oranges, mangoes and bananas.

Fluoride taking in large quantities over time slowly poisons the human body. Prolonged intake of treated water that contains more than 2 parts fluoride per million (ppm) can lead to discolored, mottled or brownish enamel on the teeth.
Extremely high concentrations, over 8 ppm can contribute to bone disorders, kidney, liver and adrenal failure as well as the heart, reproductive system and central nervous system.

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