Excessive Tea Drinking Causes Woman to Lose Teeth and Develop Skeletal Fluorosis

Skeletal Fluorosis

Excessive tea drinking has created a rare, hard to diagnose case of Skeletal Fluorosis for one 47-year old in Michigan.

The woman went to her primary care doctor in Lansing, Michigan concerned, thinking she had cancer because she was having bone pain in her lower back, arms, legs and hips for five years. She also had had all her teeth extracted due to brittleness.

The Doctor took X-rays which revealed her bones being unusually dense, but no signs of disease. Though they did discover that the fluoride level in her blood was high.

She was referred to Dr. Sudhaker Rao, section head of bone and mineral metabolism and director of the bone and mineral research laboratory at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, for a bone biopsy.

She had a fluoride concentration in her blood of 0.43 milligrams per liter, while the normal concentration is less than 0.10 mg per liter, Rao reported. He then learned about her regular tea drinking routine of 100 to 150 tea bag pitchers every day.

“Most of us can excrete fluoride extremely well, but if you drink too much, it can be a problem,” he said. Brewed tea has one of the highest fluoride contents of all the beverages in the United States, according to Rao. He immediately wondered if the fluoride in the concentrated tea concoction the woman was regularly drinking could be the cause of her bone troubles, he said. “There have been about three to four cases reported in the U.S. associated with ingesting tea, especially large amounts of it,” he noted.

Skeletal fluorosis can be found in people who drink water with high concentrations of fluoride. The main health concern regarding fluoride is likely to be from excessive chronic oral exposure in drinking water. Due to the deposition of significant amounts of fluoride in bone, the primary target system for intermediate and chronic exposures of both humans and several laboratory animal species is the skeletal system (including teeth).  Industrial workers who inhale fluoride dust and fumes are also vulnerable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The woman received counseling, is no longer drinking tea and has improved in health, according to the article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Excessive Tea Causes Rare Bone Disease

Too much tea leads to a rare bone disease. A Detroit woman has been diagnosed with an extremely rare bone disease, believed to be skeletal fluorosis. The woman drank a pitcher of tea everyday for the past 17 years. Each container was made from about 100 tea bags.

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