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Fluoride Deficiency


Larry E. Johnson

, MD, PhD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020

Fluoride deficiency can cause tooth and bone weakness.

In the body, most fluoride is contained in bones and teeth. Fluoride is necessary for the formation and health of bones and teeth.

(See also Overview of Minerals.)

Fluoride deficiency can lead to tooth decay and possibly osteoporosis. Consuming enough fluoride can make tooth decay less likely and may strengthen bones. The addition of fluoride (fluoridation) to drinking water that is low in fluoride or the use of fluoride supplements significantly reduces the risk of tooth decay. Fluoride applied to teeth (fluoride varnish) may be helpful to reduce early childhood tooth decay in areas of the world where fluoride toothpaste or fluoridation is not readily available.

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