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Could changes in UK trade agreements affect fluoride content of imported foods?

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posted on 2023-05-05, 08:48 authored by Catherine Hershaw, Ruth FairchildRuth Fairchild, M.Z. Morgan, R. Waddington

It is well-known that fluoride has a beneficial effect on the prevention of tooth decay; however an adverse effect of prolonged exposure to excess fluoride is dental fluorosis. In the UK, the prevalence of any form of fluorosis has been most recently estimated at 55% in fluoridated areas and 27% in non-fluoridated areas for 11-13 year olds.1 Other European countries and the USA have determined the prevalence of fluorosis in the population and recognise the importance of monitoring fluoride intake.2

In 2010, the World Health Organisation released a declaration stating the adverse effects of excess fluoride and highlighting that, in addition to fluoride toothpastes and varnishes, there can be high levels of fluoride present in drinking water and food.3 Fluoride is not considered to be an essential nutrient because it is not required for any function within the body. As a result, fluoride content of food and drink is not stated on nutrition labels and, aside from the USA, fluoride is not included in food composition tables.4,5 This can make it difficult for individuals to monitor fluoride intake.


Published in

Dental Health


British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Hershaw, C., Fairchild, R. M., Morgan, M. Z., & Waddington, R. (2020) 'Could changes in UK trade agreements affect fluoride content of imported foods?', Dental Health

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  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

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Ruth Fairchild

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