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Shweta Sachan*, Aditi Singh#, Jyoti Prakash, Garima Awasthi


Fluorine is a highly reactive gas seldom occurs in nature in elemental form. It combine with other elements or molecules and form fluorides (F-), e.g. Calcium fluorite (CaF2), Cryolite (Na3AlF6) etc with a very high affinity. Geological crust in India is very rich in fluoride bearing minerals. Groundwater with high fluoride concentration occur in many areas of the world including large parts of China, Africa, Southern Asia and the middle East, including India. Although drinking water is usually the largest contributor to the daily fluoride intake, it is also found in atmosphere originating from the dusts of fluoride containing soils, from gaseous industrial wastes and from burning of coal fires in populated areas. Fluoride can reduce or prevent dental decay and strengthen bones, so that it prevents bone fractures in older people. When the level of fluoride is naturally low, studies have shown higher levels of dental caries (tooth decay) and fractures. But is too much of a good thing always beneficial? Excessive ingestion of fluoride during the early childhood years can damage the tooth-forming cells, leading to a defect in enamel known as dental fluorosis. Another well known cause of excess fluoride is skeletal fluorosis, which is difficult to diagnose in early stages and can be confused with various forms of arthritis. Apart from teeth and bone, excess fluoride has been found to be affecting kidney, brain, thyroid gland and the gastrointestinal gland. Fluoride is purposely added to toothpastes and sometimes other products to promote dental health. Fluoride is also found in some food stuffs and in the air, so the amount of fluoride people actually ingest may be higher than assumed.

Keywords: Fluoride, fluorosis, dental caries, skeletal fluorosis.

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