Fluoride assists in the development and maintenance of teeth and bones.
Our needs for fluoride are small. There’s no RDA. The AI for children aged 4-8 is 1 mg/day, 9-13 years is 2 mg/day. For those 14-18 years old it is 3 mg/day. The AI for adults is 4 mg/day for men and 3 mg/day for women. It is available in many communities in the United States by fluoridated water and dental products. Fluoride is absorbed directly in the mouth into the teeth and gums and can also be absorbed from the GI tract once it’s ingested.
There are concerns for those who consume bottled water exclusively who might be consuming too little fluoride and increasing their risks for dental caries because bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride. Toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain fluoride are widely marketed and used by consumers in the US and these products can contribute as much fluoride in the diet as fluoridated water. Fluoride supplements are available only by prescription who are generally given to children who don’t have access to fluoridated water.
Source: Thompson, Janice, Melinda Manore, and Linda A. Vaughan. The Science of Nutrition. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings, 2011. Print.