BENGALURU: If carbonated sweet drinks, fruit juices or mineral water is your first choice to satisfy thirst, you need to think twice. Samples of sweet carbonated drinks, fruit juices, bottled water collected from outlets in and around Mangaluru tested in Nitte University’s laboratory have revealed high level of fluoride concentration. “Our research also revealed that many carbonated sweet drinks and fruit juices had high acidic pH values,’’ said Prof C R Chowdhury, head of Oral Biology and Genomic studies, AB Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences (ABSMIDS).
The revelation of unregulated fluoride levels and highly acidic pH values in carbonated drinks is a public health concern because it adds to the regular intake of fluoride which exists in trace amounts in the environment and in products like toothpaste, tooth powder and mouth washes used everyday, he informs. Prof Chowdhury and his five-member team decided to undertake the study to quantify the concentration of fluoride in commonly used products and pH of carbonated sweet drinks.
“The samples were collected in Mangaluru, considered as representative of the products in the state in particular and the country in general,’’ he explained. The results showed that fluoride level in bottled waters ranged between 0.10 and 0.12 mg/L, fruit juices between 0.09 and 0.21 mg/L. Fluoride level in tooth pastes ranged between 96 and 1397 mg/L, tooth powder between 35 to 1380 mg/L and mouth washes from 6 to 228 mg/L.
Prof Chowdhury said fluoride is an important element in maintaining dental and general health. But excess intake of fluoride leads to adverse health effects like musculoskeletal fluorosis (pain in joints, ligaments, muscles and structures that support limbs, neck and back). “Uncontrolled fluoride toothpaste use before the age of six is a risk indicator for fluorosis,’’ he cautions. The study also found that brands did not indicate fluoride levels on labels of products or there was a huge variation in fluoride levels which did not match with values of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and World Health Organisation (WHO). Prof Chowdhury says the demand is justified as fluoride content in food and drinks in the UK is regulated. In India there are are no recommendations on the intake of fluoride.