Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for fluoride
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) derived Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) for fluoride, which are provided as Adequate Intake (AI) from all sources, including non-dietary sources. Fluoride is not an essential nutrient. Therefore, no Average Requirement for the performance of essential physiological functions can be defined. Nevertheless, the Panel considered that the setting of an AI is appropriate because of the beneficial effects of dietary fluoride on prevention of dental caries. The AI is based on epidemiological studies (performed before the 1970s) showing an inverse relationship between the fluoride concentration of water and caries prevalence. As the basis for defining the AI, estimates of mean fluoride intakes of children via diet and drinking water with fluoride concentrations at which the caries preventive effect approached its maximum whilst the risk of dental fluorosis approached its minimum were chosen. Except for one confirmatory longitudinal study in US children, more recent studies were not taken into account as they did not provide information on total dietary fluoride intake, were potentially confounded by the use of fluoride-containing dental hygiene products, and did not permit a conclusion to be drawn on a dose-response relationship between fluoride intake and caries risk. The AI of fluoride from all sources (including non-dietary sources) is 0.05 mg/kg body weight per day for both children and adults, including pregnant and lactating women. For pregnant and lactating women, the AI is based on the body weight before pregnancy and lactation. Reliable and representative data on the total fluoride intake of the European population are not available.