Sodium Fluoride

Everything you need to know about Sodium Fluoride

General Information

Sodium Fluoride's chemical name is in fact Sodium Fluoride. It's chemical formula is NaF. Sodium Fluoride is commonly used in many people's daily lives, as it is used in toothpaste in order to remove prevent dental decay. The ingestion of too much Sodium Fluoride can cause poisoning, which is why dentists recommend a pea sized amount of toothpaste and trying not to swallow toothpaste.

Physical Properties and Chemical Properties

Physical Properties
  • White colour
  • Crystalline Solid
  • Salty Taste
  • Odourless
  • Has a melting point of 996˚C and boiling point of 1965˚C. Sodium Fluoride has an extremely high melting point due to the fact that it is an ionic compound. In ionic compounds, there is a transfer of electrons, making one element negative and the other element positive. In this case, the Na turns positive and the F turns negative. Since positives and negatives have a strong attraction between each other, this makes it much harder to separate the two elements from one another
  • Conducts electricity. Since Sodium Fluoride is an ionic bond, it conducts electricity when dissolved in water. This is because when the compound dissolves in water, the positive ions move to the corresponding charged rod and the negative ions move to the corresponding charged rod therefore filling the circuit and allowing electricity to be conducted

Chemical Properties
  • Reacts with mineral acids to generate a highly toxic Hydrogen Fluoride
  • Reacts with gastric acids to form Hydrofluoric Acid

Visual Representation of compound structure

In this visual of the Sodium Fluoride compound, the purple spheres act as the Sodium with a 1+ charge, and the green spheres act as the Fluorine with a 1- charge. This visual is called a lattice structure and can only be formed in the case of an ionic bond. The Sodium elements and the Fluorine elements are held together by a strong force of attraction due to the positive charge on Sodium and the negative charge on Fluorine

Lewis structure of a Sodium Fluoride compound

In this Lewis structure diagram of Sodium Fluoride, one electron from Sodium (Na) is being transferred to Fluorine (F). The reason this happens is because Na has a charge of 1+, meaning that it wants to give away an electron and F has a charge of 1-, meaning that it wants to gain an electron. Once the transfer is complete, Na becomes a positive ion and F becomes a negative ion. Since Na and F now have different charges (positive and negative), there is a force of attraction between them creating Sodium Fluoride (NaF). This type of chemical bond is called an Ionic bond and occurs when a metal (Na) bonds with a non-metal (F).

Common Uses for Sodium Fluoride

Benefits of using Sodium Fluoride

Benefits of Sodium Fluoride include

  1. Improved Dental Health. When mixed with water, Sodium Fluoride prevents and reverses tooth root decay in people of all ages
  2. Reduced Dental expenses. According to a study done by Virginia's Community colleges, for every $1 used to add NaF in water, someones dental expenses are saved by $50

Sodium Fluorides cost to Human Health

Negatives of using Sodium Fluoride include

  1. Potential for fluorosis. Fluorosis is a condition that is characterized by brown stains and mottling on the surface of ones teeth. This is irreversible without cosmetics
  2. Risk of Skeletal issues. The consumption of high levels of sodium fluoride can lead to a condition known as skeletal fluorosis. This is when excess fluoride builds up around bones causing stiffness and pain.
  3. High doses of Sodium Fluoride are known to cause neurological problems, mainly impacting learning and behaviour
  4. Sodium Fluoride increases the chances of having hyperthyroidism. European doctors in the mid-20th century prescribed Sodium Fluoride to their hyperthyroidism patients and noticed reduced thyroid hormone production with the small prescription of 3.5-4.5 mg of NaF per day.

How to safely use Sodium Fluoride

  1. Not recommended to be used by infants under the age of 6 months old
  2. Do not use any source of extra Sodium Fluoride in areas where sodium fluoride content in the water supply is greater than 0.6 parts per million
  3. All dosages of Sodium Fluoride are given judging by your age and weight
  4. Liquid forms can be ingested after measuring the dose carefully to avoid overdosing and can be swallowed directly or with juice
  5. Chewable forms must be chewed or dissolved in the mouth so that the teeth can fully absorb the Sodium Fluoride. Do not eat, drink, or rinse mouth until 30 minutes after the dose has been chewed or dissolved for best results
  6. Take Sodium Fluoride 1 hour apart from products that contain Calcium, Magnesium, and/or Aluminum. Examples would include milk, yogurt, antacids, and laxatives. The products can bind with Sodium Fluoride, preventing its full absorption.