Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Fluoride is an essential element, which helps in making your teeth enamel hard and helps in preventing cavities in teeth. Fluoride is mainly available in two key forms – Sodium fluoride and calcium fluoride. Large amount of fluoride consumption can have detrimental side effects on health and well-being of a person. Sodium fluoride is more harmful compared to consumption of calcium fluoride. It is important to know the side effects of too much fluoride in the body.

What are the Side Effects of too Much Fluoride in the Body?

What are the Recommended Optimum Levels of Fluoride?

According to a report of World Health Organization, the recommended levels of fluoride should be between 0.5 to 1.0 milligrams per liter. According to US health department, human body should not consume more than 0.7 mg/l and the recommended levels are intended to help cure dental problems and bones in body. Constant intake of more than the recommended levels of fluoride causes negative effect in the body and it is important to understand the side effects of fluoride in the body.

According to a recent result, adult men need consumption of around 4 mg of fluoride in a day while women require 3 mg. Consuming more than the recommended levels of fluoride in the body can pose serious health side effects. Some of the common source of fluoride includes dental products, pesticides, bottled tea, nonstick pans, deboned chicken, fluorinated pharmaceuticals, processed foods made from fluoridated water.

What are the Side Effects of too Much Fluoride in the Body?

The main side effects of too much fluoride in the body is the fluoride toxicity. Here are some of the side of too much fluoride in the body:

  1. Fluoride Toxicity

    • Chronic Effects- There are various geographical areas around the world which are poisoned by water contaminated by excess fluoride mainly because of the presence of fluoride inside granite rocks. Excess fluoride can lead to bone deformations in children, which is considered as a side effect of too much fluoride. Problems have been reported in the areas where water is contaminated with excess fluoride such as Uzbekistan, India, China and Ethiopia.
    • Acute Effects- Acute toxicity can occur due to accidental ingestion of high concentration of fluoride present in pesticides and insecticides. Fluoride is mainly an important component in pesticides. So if any food product is consumed containing high amount of fluoride then it can cause severe health problems. Also in various advanced countries, excessive fluoride is caused due to ingestion of certain dental products. Some of the sources also include chrome cleaning agents such as hydrofluoric acid and ammonium difluoride and glass etching agents. People working in industries and those regularly exposed to such chemicals are at risk of various side effects of too much fluoride in the body.
  2. Dental Fluorosis

    It is a cosmetic problem that occurs in the teeth, in which dark brown and yellow stains are noted on the teeth. It mainly happens due to the excessive exposure of fluoride in the early ages. The main problem occurs when permanent teeth starts getting developed inside the body and because of the presence of high amount of fluoride, the tooth enamel becomes brittle and gets damaged. It can even cause various problems such as pitting under the surface of teeth, as side effects of too much fluoride in the body.

  3. Renal Damage

    Another problem that occurs due to too much fluoride in the body is when the body starts flushing it out of the system. This flushing is done through the renal route which ultimately passes through urine. High concentration of fluoride can cause damage to the renal route and even impacts the filtering organs. Due to high consumption of fluoride, renal system of the body starts getting degraded and it can even cause severe renal problems.

  4. Hyperkalemia

    It is a rare problem that occurs due to too much of fluoride and potassium in the body. In medical terms it is known as hyperkalemia and causes impact on the functioning of heart. It can even result into life threatening diseases later on.

  5. Demineralization

    Right amount of fluoride can help in strengthening your bones but excess levels can even weaken the bones. This process is known as demineralization. In such conditions a person can suffer from tooth decay or osteoporosis, as major side effects of too much fluoride in the body.

  6. Stomach and Duodenum

    Combination of fluoride and hydrogen is known as hydrogen fluoride and it is mainly present in the stomach. HCF is used for the purpose of breaking down of proteins and carbohydrates in the body and essential for the digestion purposes. However, with too much of fluoride, it can start increasing the formation of hydrogen fluoride, which can eventually damage the stomach lining. It can even cause severe side effects such as stomach ulcer, duodenal ulcer, gastric erosion and various other issues.

  7. Other Health Hazards

    According to recent studies, too much fluoride in the body can even affect the cognitive functions in children. Studies have been conducted around the world to check various side effects of fluoride and it was found that the high intake of fluoride can even cause problems during pregnancy and can harm the fetal brain. It can even aggravate the impact of iodine deficiency and thyroid malfunctioning. The problems related to thyroid can lead to even permanent brain damage and mental problems in children.

What Causes too Much Fluoride in the Body?

Below are the possible reasons why excess fluoride could be present.

  • Modern Pharmaceuticals - One of the major reasons of excess ingestion of fluorine is the large presence of modern pharmaceutical compounds. Carbon bonds with fluorine strongly, and hence is present in organ fluorine compounds, which is one of the major causes of side effects of too much fluoride in the body.
  • Fluoride in Toothpaste - Fluoride rich toothpaste is another reason for too much fluoride in the body. According to recent studies and surveys, it has been found that most of the children have been ingesting fluoride rich toothpaste and its regular use can increase the risk of side effects of too much fluoride in the body.
  • Drinking Water – High percentage of population around the world consumes ground water resources. This makes approximately 10% of total world population consuming heavily contaminated groundwater resources, which can cause side effects of too much fluoride in the body.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 2, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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