Predictors of Plasma Fluoride Concentrations in Children and Adolescents
Despite increasing concerns about neurotoxicity of fluoride in children, sources of fluoride exposure apart from municipal water fluoridation are poorly understood. We aimed to describe the associations of demographics, drinking water characteristics, diet, and oral health behaviors with plasma fluoride concentrations in U.S. children. We used data from 3928 6-19-year-olds from the 2013-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We used a 24-h dietary recall to estimate recent consumption of fluoridated tap water and select foods. We estimated the associations of fluoridated tap water, time of last dental visit, use of toothpaste, and frequency of daily tooth brushing with plasma fluoride concentrations. The participants who consumed fluoridated (≥0.7 mg/L) tap water (n = 560, 16%) versus those who did not had 36% (95% CI: 22, 51) higher plasma fluoride. Children who drank black or green tea (n = 503, 13%) had 42% higher plasma fluoride concentrations (95% CI: 27, 58) than non-tea drinkers. The intake of other foods and oral health behaviors were not associated with plasma fluoride concentrations. The consumption of fluoridated tap water and tea substantially increases plasma fluoride concentrations in children. Quantifying the contribution of diet and other sources of fluoride is critical to establishing safe target levels for municipal water fluoridation.