Changes to fluoride nutrient reference values
The Australian Government Department of Health has revised the fluoride nutrient reference values for infants and young children in Australia and New Zealand.
It is now recommended that the upper level intake of fluoride for infants and children up to 8 years is 0.20 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day.
This has changed from 0.10 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day.
The department said based on evidence, at this new level of intake, the risk of damage to tooth enamel is reduced to an acceptable level. Updated bodyweight information was used to present the upper level as an amount of fluoride intake per day.
There are no changes to the adequate recommended intake for children aged 7 months to 8 years, which is 0.05 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. The Department of Health said this amount is associated with appreciably reduced rates of tooth decay.
Fluoride is found both in teeth and bones and can be consumed by humans through food, beverages, water, toothpaste and dietary supplements.
Fluoride is added to water to help prevent tooth decay as if a human does not have enough fluoride cavities can occur. Dental fluorosis, or damage to tooth enamel, can however occur if humans are exposed to excessive amounts of fluoride.
The fluoride nutrient reference values are designed for use by dietitians and other health professionals developing clinical guidelines, assessing dietary requirements of populations and as the basis for public health policy initiatives.