Sodium fluoride (NaF) is an inorganic compoundwith the formula NaF. It is a colorless or white solid that is readily soluble in water. It is a common source of fluoride in the production of pharmaceuticals and is used to prevent cavities
See also: Fluoride therapy and Water fluoridation
Fluoride salts are often added to municipal drinking water (as well as certain food products in some countries) for the purposes of maintaining dental health. The fluoride enhances the strength of teeth by the formation of fluorapatite, a naturally occurring component of tooth enamel.Although sodium fluoride is used to fluoridate water and, indeed, is the standard by which other water-fluoridation compounds are gauged, hexafluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) and its salt sodium hexafluorosilicate (Na2SiF6) are more commonly used additives in the U.S.
Fluoride supplementation has been extensively studied for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. This supplementation does not appear to be effective; even though sodium fluoride increases bone density, it does not decrease the risk of fractures.
In medical imaging, fluorine-18-labelled sodium fluoride (USP, sodium fluoride F18) is one of the oldest tracers used in positron emission tomography (PET), having been in use since the 1960s. Relative to conventional bone scintigraphy carried out with gamma cameras or SPECT systems, PET offers more sensitivity and spatial resolution. Fluorine-18 has a half-life of 110 min, which requires it to be used promptly once produced; this logistical limitation hampered its adoption in the face of the more convenient technetium-99m-labelled radiopharmaceuticals. However fluorine-18 is generally considered to be a superior radiopharmaceutical for skeletal imaging. In particular it has a high and rapid bone uptake accompanied by very rapid blood clearance, which results in a high bone-to-background ratio in a short time. Additionally the annihilation photons produced by decay of 18F have a high energy of 511-keV compared to 140-keV photons of 99mTc.
Sodium fluoride has a variety of specialty chemical applications in synthesis and extractive metallurgy. It reacts with electrophilic chlorides including acyl chlorides, sulfur chlorides, and phosphorus chloride. Like other fluorides, sodium fluoride finds use in desilylation in organic synthesis. Sodium fluoride can be used to produce fluorocarbons via the Finkelstein reaction; this process has the advantage of being simple to perform on a small scale but is rarely used on an industrial scale due the existence of more effective techniques (e.g. Electrofluorination, Fowler process).
Sodium fluoride is used as a cleaning agent (e.g., as a "laundry sour"). Sodium fluoride is used as a stomach poison for plant-feeding insects. Inorganic fluorides such as fluorosilicates and sodium fluoride complex magnesium ions as magnesium fluorophosphate. They inhibit enzymes such as enolase that require Mg2+ as a prosthetic group. Thus, fluoride poisoning prevents phosphate transfer in oxidative metabolism.
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