Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Food and Allergy
Fluoride - assessment of suggested maximum limits in food supplements
Report no: 2019:12
For people in most age groups, taking daily food supplements containing fluoride doses of 0.5, 1, 5, or 7 mg, combined with using fluoride tablets and fluoride toothpaste (to prevent tooth decay) may cause some individuals to exceed tolerable upper intake levels for fluoride. Doses of 0.5 mg per day for 9- and 13-year-olds and 1 mg per day for 9-year-olds are an exception.
This is the conclusion of the Scientific Committee for Food and the Environment (VKM), after estimating the intake of fluoride from dietary and dental care products. VKM's conclusion applies to ordinary food supplements (vitamin and mineral supplements), and not to fluoride tablets for the prevention of tooth decay (caries).
The previous maximum limit for fluoride in food supplements of 0.5 mg per day was retracted on May 30, 2017.
This assessment is based on published reports from European and American authorities about tolerable upper intake levels. VKM has not conducted its own systematic literature search to assess the overall scientific knowledge base.
Fluorides can be found everywhere in the earth’s surface, water and air. Fluoride occurs naturally in all water sources and the highest levels are in groundwater.
Fluoride is not an essential nutrient.
In our diet, fluoride mainly comes from water and from beverages made from tea leaves. Dental care products used to prevent tooth decay, such as fluoride tablets and toothpaste, are another important source of fluoride. Fluoride is not added to drinking water or salt in Norway.
The main adverse health effects of prolonged, high intake of fluoride are stains in tooth enamel in children up to eight years, and brittle bones and joint pain in older children and adults.
VKM's Panel on Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Food and Allergy is responsible for this opinion.
The assessment was commissioned by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.