Fluoride

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

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Sep 8th 08 4:56 pm
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Fluoride

by Wosret » Sep 8th 08 4:56 pm

I keep reading that tea contains fluoride. I only found one thread on these boards about the topic (here). I'm not clear on whether the fluoride in tea is inherent in tea, or if it's due to the water used to brew tea. Can anyone clarify? Thanks!

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Sep 8th 08 5:08 pm
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by Geekgirl » Sep 8th 08 5:08 pm

The fluoride/fluorine is in the tea leaves. Camellia sinensis is very efficient at fluoride absorption from the soil where it grows, so depending upon the concentration present at the root level, your tea may have more or less fluoride.

Older, larger, mature leaves naturally accumulate more fluoride in the leaves.

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by PolyhymnianMuse » Sep 8th 08 9:48 pm

Geekgirl got it. In certain countries where tea is as common or even more common than water, it can be a potential problem.

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by Wosret » Sep 9th 08 1:10 am

Weird! And thanks.

Kind of ironic then that the British are known for both being tea totallers and for having bad teeth. :twisted:

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by Geekgirl » Sep 9th 08 1:25 am

I don't know that they're known for bad teeth, maybe stained teeth...

Fluoride helps close the little tubes (pores) in teeth. When you use a whitening product, it opens those little guys up so the whitener can do the job. If the tubes are closed, your teeth won't get whiter. So it stands to reason that tea drinkers would have more stains -yellower/browner teeth due to higher fluorination helping the teeth helping hold onto the stains better.

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by Pentox » Sep 9th 08 1:30 am

Apparently too much fluoride causes stains. The main reason that the British are known for bad teeth is a different reason though. Due to British medical policies, orthodontics are considered non-essential, so it's not something everyone gets. As a result their teeth go uncorrected unlike the US where most children who need it nowadays tend to get braces.

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by Geekgirl » Sep 9th 08 1:44 am

yeah excess fluoridation causes those weird white spots on the tooth and other strange kind of greyish brown tooth color. Ingesting too much fluoride has other risks also, and ironically most of the fluoride prescribed to kids is the kind you ingest. It has been suggested that high-risk kids should be using fluoride lozenges instead, since direct contact with the teeth provides the greatest benefit.

How much fluoride is in tea though, is really hard to quantify because it is dependent on multiple factors. Fluorine/fluoride poisoning is not common and is generally regional, though some heavy drinkers of "ancient" puerh might be at risk, as are heavy drinkers of "milk" tea in Tibet.

Total concentration in all consumables play a part in this. Tea is not the only vegetation that uptakes fluoride. Fruits and veggies with leaves have more fluoride than roots, stalks and grains. Milk can contain fluoride if the water and foods offered to cattle are heavily fluoridated. All factors can be further influenced by the fluoride content naturally occurring in soil and water.

So the fluoride/fluorine in tea leaves shouldn't be of too much concern, unless symptoms of toxicity start showing up.

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by chamekke » Sep 9th 08 2:15 am

Pentox wrote:The main reason that the British are known for bad teeth is a different reason though. Due to British medical policies, orthodontics are considered non-essential, so it's not something everyone gets. As a result their teeth go uncorrected unlike the US where most children who need it nowadays tend to get braces.
Most children whose family can afford it, you mean. That problem is the same in both North America and the UK.

Incidentally, basic dental care is free on the National Health Service in the UK... or it was when I last lived there, at any rate. That did impress me.

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by beecrofter » Oct 4th 08 2:13 pm

My 2 cents regarding flouride , to lessen it's potential to cause you any health issues be sure you have a decent intake of iodine . Halogens displace one another from the more reactive ones down.