When we hear the word fluoride most of us think about its role in keeping our teeth healthy. It’s true that the main function of fluoride in the body is in the mineralisation of bones and teeth therefore, it is critical for healthy teeth and bones. This is why fluoride is now routinely added to most toothpastes. Fluoride is also present in soils, water supplies, plants and animals. Only a trace of fluoride is found in the body, but even at these tiny amounts, the crystalline deposits of fluoride result in larger and stronger bones and makes teeth more resistant to decay.
The Primary Sources of Fluoride
Fluoride is commonly found in drinking water (if fluoride-containing or fluoridated), tea, and seafood (especially if eaten with bones).
Bioavailability of Fluoride
Fluoride bioavailability from water and dental products is very close to 100%. Calcium may reduce the absorption of fluoride by 10–25%.
Risks Related to Inadequate or Excess Intake of Fluoride
In humans, the only clear effect of inadequate fluoride intake is an increased risk of dental caries (tooth decay) for individuals of all ages. Too much fluoride can damage the teeth, causing fluorosis. Teeth develop small white specks and in severe cases the enamel becomes pitted and permanently stained. Fluorosis only occurs during tooth development and cannot be reversed, making its prevention a high priority.
Incorporate fluoride into your next meal by trying the delicious recipe below…
Linguine with Clams*
150 g dried linguine
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
500 g clams, scrubbed, from sustainable sources
1 pinch of dried red chili flakes
125 ml dry white wine
extra virgin olive oil
Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the garlic, then pick and finely chop the parsley (stalks and all).
Sort through the clams, giving any that aren’t tightly closed a tap. If they don’t close, throw them away.
When the pasta has 5 minutes to go, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add the garlic and chilli flakes, and fry for 1 minute, or until lightly golden.
Throw in the clams, give the pan a good a shake, then after 30 seconds add the wine and pop the lid on.
After 3 or 4 minutes, the clams will start to open – keep shaking the pan until they’ve all opened, then remove from the heat, and discard any clams that remain closed.
Using tongs, drag the pasta straight into the pan of clams, then simmer for a minute or two in all the delicious juices.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, then add the parsley and good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and toss together. Delicious served with a glass of chilled white wine.
*This recipe is sourced from Jamie Oliver.