There has been public concern about children's intellectual performance at high levels of fluoride exposure, but few studies provide data directly to the question of whether low fluoride exposure levels less than 3.0 mg/L in drinking water adversely associated with children's intelligence. In this survey, we investigated the effects of low fluoride exposure on children's intelligence and dental fluorosis. 331 children aged from 7 to 14 were randomly recruited from four sites in Hulunbuir City, China. Intelligence was assessed using Combined Raven Test-The Rural in China while dental fluorosis was diagnosed with Dean's index. Mean value of fluoride in drinking water was 1.31±1.05 mg/L (range 0.24-2.84). Urine fluoride was inversely associated with IQ in the multiple linear regression model when children's age as a covariate variable was taken into account (P<0.0001). Each increase in 1 mg/L of urine fluoride associated with 0.59-point decrease in IQ (P=0.0226). Meanwhile, there was a dose-response relationship between urine fluoride and dental fluorosis (P<0.0001). In conclusion, our study suggested that low levels of fluoride exposure in drinking water had negative effects on children's intelligence and dental health and confirmed the dose-response relationships between urine fluoride and IQ scores as well as dental fluorosis.
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