A woman in the US has lost all her teeth and been diagnosed with a rare bone condition after drinking 100 tea bag’s worth of tea every day for 17 years. The 47-year-old woman developed skeletal fluorosis after drinking a pitcher of tea made from 100 tea bags every day; it is thought that the fluoride levels in that amount of tea and water would easily be responsible for the disease.
The patient visited a doctor in Detroit, Michigan, after suffering pain and stiffness in her bones; it was discovered that she had very dense bone in her back and calcification in the ligaments of her arms, her teeth had also become so brittle that they all had to be extracted. After x-rays revealed the abnormally dense areas of bone in her vertebrae, the woman’s fluoride levels were tested and found to be four times higher than normal.
Fluoride is good for the teeth and can prevent cavities in small amounts, but when consumed at such a high level over a long period of time, it is not safe for general health. Experts recommend that water should not contain more than 4mg of fluoride; this patient had been consuming at least 20mg every day.
Skeletal fluorosis is not common in the UK but it can develop in countries where the fluoride deposits in the water supply are naturally greater, such as India. The woman is expected to make a full recovery after reducing her consumption.