Merck Manual

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Fluorine Deficiency


Larry E. Johnson

, MD, PhD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Last full review/revision May 2020| Content last modified May 2020
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Most of the body’s fluorine (F) is contained in bones and teeth. Fluoride (the ionic form of fluorine) is widely distributed in nature. The main source of fluoride is fluoridated drinking water.

Fluorine deficiency can lead to dental caries and possibly osteoporosis. Fluoridation of water that contains < 1 parts per million (the ideal) reduces the incidence of dental caries. If a child’s drinking water is not fluoridated, oral fluoride supplements can be prescribed.

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