OBJECTIVE: To determine fluoride concentrations in the typical Brazilian meal (rice with beans) and in processed infant foods, and to estimate their contribution towards dental fluorosis. METHODS: The foods were purchased at supermarkets in the cities of Piracicaba and Campinas, Southeastern Brazil. The processed infant foods were bought in 2001 and the rice and beans in 2003, and they were analyzed immediately. Three brands of rice, three brands of beans and 36 samples of infant foods were analyzed, divided into five groups: ready-to-eat, porridges, formulated foods, powdered milk and others. For the rice and beans, fluoride concentrations were determined in the raw grains and after they were cooked with fluoridated (0.7 ppm) or distilled water. All the fluoride analyses were performed using a specific electrode. A dose of 0.07 mg/kg/day was considered to be the upper limit of fluoride exposure in terms of fluorosis risks. RESULTS: The fluoride concentrations found in the grains of rice and beans were low. However, they increased 100 to 200-fold after cooking in fluoridated water. Even so, they were lower than what is found in some processed foods. A meal of rice and beans prepared with fluoridated water would be responsible for 29% of the threshold dose for fluoride intake in terms of acceptable fluorosis; the contribution from some processed foods reaches 45%. CONCLUSIONS: The typical Brazilian food, even when prepared with fluoridated water, is safer in terms of the risk of dental fluorosis than are some processed infant foods.
Food analysis; Infant food; Fluorides; Fluorosis