Why Fluoride is Essential to Good Dental Care
The Internet is a vast, seemingly endless, ocean of information. Not all that information is helpful or accurate, and recently, people have questioned the veracity of ingredients that are meant to be for our benefit. Case in point, the use of fluoride. Many people, particularly in the recent climate where the world is focused on using the best ingredients and products to keep them healthy, want to know if flouride is safe to use and good for their teeth.
We can help you unpack this topic, giving you all the answers you need – including which toothpaste has the most fluoride (UK).
What is Fluoride, Really?
Chemically speaking, fluoride is an inorganic, monatomic anion of fluorine, with the chemical formula F. Or to put it simply and avoid getting any further into a chemistry lesson, fluoride is a mineral that’s found naturally in water, soil, plants, rocks, and the air. What a lot of people are surprised to find out is that fluoride is actually already present in your bones and teeth.
As far as fluoride relates to dental health, researchers and dentists have found that sodium fluoride, or another fluorine-containing salt, can significantly reduce tooth decay when added to toothpaste.
What is Fluoride Used For?
Fluoride is used for a number of applications, such as cleaning agents, in pesticides, in medical imaging scans, and even in the manufacturing of steel and aluminum products. However, it’s also used in the promotion of dental health. For this reason, the dentistry industry uses it to strengthen enamel (the outer pearly layer of your teeth) and prevent cavities by adding it to several over the counter products, including toothpaste, mouth rinses, and supplements.
In extreme cases, where patients have a lot of cavities, dentists will prescribe products with a higher concentration of fluoride.
So, Why Do Dentists Like Fluoride?
Our mouths contain bacteria which break down the sugars and carbs in our mouths after we’ve consumed food and liquids. During this process, the acid that the bacteria produces eats away at the minerals in your tooth enamel, causing demineralisation of your teeth and weakening the enamel. This leaves your teeth vulnerable to the formation of cavities – and not only this, but also pain and sensitivity when chewing food. This inevitably results in weakened areas all over your smile line area and further tooth decay and even gum disease if the issue isn’t addressed.
Thankfully, the solution usually lies in regularly brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth with toothpaste and mouth rinse products that contain fluoride. Essentially, fluoride helps to remineralise your tooth enamel, which prevents cavities and reverses early signs of tooth decay.
Weighing the Benefits with the Concerns
Given that we’re experts in all things dental, we won’t comment on the pros and cons of using fluoride to make PET scans, and pots and pans… but we can speak to the benefits of using fluoride for your teeth, weighing these up with the concerns that some may have.
- The use of fluoride reduces plaque
- The use of fluoride removes tartar
- It helps teeth remain clean, preventing further tooth decay
- Fluoride protects teeth from demineralisation (stripping of minerals from teeth by oral bacteria)
- The presence of fluoride attracts other minerals, such as calcium
- Fluoride promotes overall oral wellness
- Higher doses can be lethal if ingested by children 3 years old and younger
- If higher quantities are ingested at a younger age, it can cause dental fluorosis (white spots on your enamel)
- When there are extremely high amounts of fluoride amounts in your bones from ingesting extremely high levels of fluoride daily over an extended period, skeletal fluorosis (joint and bone hardening) can occur
When is Fluoride Prescribed to Patients?
Our brilliant healthcare professionals at Shine Dental Clinic will prescribe a high fluoride toothpaste to those who are more vulnerable to cavities. While there really is no absolute “best toothpaste,” seeing as there are so many types of toothpaste products that have been developed to treat a range of issues, we do frequently prescribe Duraphat.
Duraphat is a minty fresh toothpaste that contains the maximum concentration of 5000ppm. Because of its high fluoride content, it’s one of the best enamel repair toothpastes, working to strengthen and remineralise the enamel on top that helps the tooth resist acid erosion. Statistically, there’s a 76% decrease in root carious lesions due to frequent use for those at higher risks for cavities, which makes this the ideal preventative solution.
You’re welcome to check out our review of Duraphat here, where we’ve gone into greater detail about this product, what it does, how long to use it for, and much more.
Talk to us Discover Shine Dental Clinic
If your teeth are bothering you and you’re dissatisfied with your smile, don’t let the problem worsen. We’re happy to discuss the use of fluoride products to make sure that you feel perfectly safe using the right solution to help improve the condition and appearance of your mouth, teeth, gums, and overall smile.
We’re here to care for you.
To book your appointment with Shine Dental Clinic, call us on 01420 550616.