Fluoride Toothpaste: Benefits and Safety

fluoride toothpaste

Are your teeth sensitive lately and do you notice black spots on them? It is high time you start using fluoride toothpaste.

These are signs of cavities.

If you keep eating and drinking sugary plus acidic foods and drinks then they are likely to harm your teeth.

Fluoride, however, protects your enamel.

This mineral is naturally found in water, rocks, and soil but it is also added in water, juices and food.

It is safe to use in toothpaste, though there can be some concerns regarding it.

This article explains how toothpaste containing fluoride is beneficial for your teeth and how to limit any harm.

Keep reading below to know more!

fluoridated water

 

Fluoride in Oral Products

In Water

Fluoride is a mineral however, it is also present in public water.

Fluoridated water is not present in bottled water but in mineral water and water supplies.

You can only reap the benefits of fluoride in water if your tap water and mineral water are safe to drink.

Though, this is the easiest way to access fluoride.

You should drink about 8 glasses of water daily and when you do that, you are letting fluoride in it remineralize teeth.

Drinking water helps deliver the calcium and phosphorus minerals in the saliva to the teeth.

If you do not have any fluoride in your water then your dentist may suggest you take fluoride treatment.

These include tablets and drops that you can take to reduce the risk of getting a tooth cavity.

Furthermore, replace soft drinks with it so that you benefit twofold by protecting your teeth from sugars and providing your enamel protection.

In Mouthwash 

Rinsing your mouth using a mouthwash or mouth rinse containing fluoride helps to deliver it to the teeth.

Swishing it around for 30 seconds to a minute may not provide as much contact as using toothpaste.

woman applying paste on toothbrush

Fluoride in Toothpaste

A toothpaste is responsible for cleaning plaque off your teeth and clearing some bacteria.

It contains abrasives such as calcium carbonate to rub off surface stains.

Moreover, it contains thickeners and binders that help give its texture and thickness.

They prevent it from drying and hardening, so do humectants like glycerol.

The froth and foam come from agents known as detergents such as sodium alkyl sulfosuccinate.

Furthermore, it contains preservatives to keep it longer on shelves by stopping the growth of microorganisms that can destroy the product.

There are artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, flavorings like spearmint and menthol and anti-sensitivity agents protecting from sensitive teeth.

Different types of toothpaste serve separate purposes.

Whitening Toothpaste helps to remove surface stains and whiten your teeth by one shade.

For effective whitening, you need to go to a teeth whitening clinic, Sharjah.

Similarly, toothpaste that helps freshen the breath contains flavorings such as menthol.

It prevents bad breath.

Sensitivity toothpaste limits the sensation of hot and cold in your teeth.

Toothpaste containing fluoride works in a similar manner.

They help protect the enamel from erosion and as a result, they prevent cavities.

They are usually labeled as cavity protection toothpaste.

Let’s find out about its benefits below.

fluoride toothpaste benefits

Fluoride Toothpaste Benefits and Uses

Using fluoride toothpaste can reduce the chances of getting tooth decay by 25 percent.

If your child starts using it before they are 7, it helps strengthen their tooth enamel.

Once they have their permanent teeth until they are adults, it protects the enamel from erosion.

The enamel is a hard material, 96 percent of which are minerals.

Hence, it is not that easy to break it down.

It does not contain living cells so it cannot regenerate once it is worn down.

Therefore, even the hard enamel can wear down over time revealing the dentin.

Sugars and acids are to blame.

When sugars in your food meet the bacteria inside your mouth, they stick to your teeth.

The bacteria metabolize the food and as a result, release acids.

These acids end up eroding the enamel and weakening it.

If acidic foods and drinks get longer exposure to your teeth and stay on them for long then they can cause harm.

It slows down erosion by making the enamel stronger.

It brings phosphate and calcium ions towards the tooth to let them remineralize the enamel.

Therefore, it becomes stronger and prevents demineralization.

The new surface becomes more resistant to the acids.

As the enamel becomes stronger it is less susceptible to cavities and decay.

Alongside it also reduces the capability of plaque to produce acids.

The plaque is a biofilm of bacteria.

Almost everyone accumulates some plaque on teeth and using toothpaste plus the action of a toothbrush helps to remove it.

Cleaning it keeps your teeth and gums healthy.

A fluoride product helps to slow down the production of acids.

Besides remineralizing the enamel by delivering calcium and phosphate ions, it also helps to decrease acids harming the enamel.

Therefore, there are fewer chances of decay and cavities.

safely using fluoride toothpaste

The Safety of Fluoride Toothpaste

If you take excess fluoride, you are risking

  • Fluoride Toxicity
  • Dental Fluorosis
  • Health problems

Toothpaste that is given to children has a fluoride amount of 1000 parts per million.

Older children and adults can use one containing 1350 to 1500 parts per million amount of fluoride.

Therefore, even if there are certain health problems with overtime fluoride use, the amount is very negligible in toothpaste.

That said, there are still concerns about using it in oral products.

Over time the use of fluoride can cause:

  • low fertility
  • acne
  • diabetes
  • cognitive and neurological issues
  • cardiovascular disease
  • high blood pressure
  • joint issues like osteoarthritis
  • thyroid dysfunction
  • low intelligence quotient
  • immune system diseases and problems

Other than that if you or your child accidentally consumes a lot of fluorides, it could lead to fluoride toxicity.

Abdominal pain is a common symptom but it can worsen and cause diarrhea and vomiting too.

Furthermore, an excess of fluoride consumption before your child is 8 years old can cause dental fluorosis.

These are white spots on the enamel.

They are hardly visible and only your dentist can detect them.

However, they can get worse and form dark brown and yellow spots.

This can stay longer on their teeth and in fact, teeth whitening may not treat it as bleaching worsens them.

Therefore, it is better to prevent it rather than treating it.

Children occasionally swallow toothpaste.

They do not develop swallowing reflexes until they are three.

It is fine to swallow a small amount however if they always do it, then it can soon cause them fluorosis.

Therefore, it is better to give children younger than 3 years of age just a small smear of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice.

You can also give them fluoride-free toothpaste and start giving fluoride after 3 years.

child brushing teeth
A smiley boy cleans a teeth isolated on grey background

When is Fluoride Toothpaste Safe For Children?

It only becomes completely safe for children when they are able to spit it.

By the age of three, your child will start spitting.

Before that, if you brush their teeth, then slant their face slightly downwards so that all of the paste dribbles from their mouth.

It is fine to give them fluoride toothpaste even before that.

Though make sure it is not more than the size of a grain of rice.

If they accidentally swallow it, then they may feel abdominal pain. If it was a large amount, take them to the emergency room.

When they are over 3 and start spitting then you can give them a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

At this age, it is also safe to swallow this amount.

You can even give them milk afterward to reduce its effect as calcium reaches the stomach it can bind to fluoride.

However, you should try that your child never swallows it.

Otherwise, it may cause dental fluorosis if they do so regularly.

Either keep the toothpaste away from children or buy a flavor that they may not like to swallow.

Also, keep supervising them.

Older children do not face any problems using this toothpaste as they can spit and swallow well.

Though, remember that if your doctor recommends you a high fluoride toothpaste for treating cavities and decay then do not share it with other members of your family.

Fluoride can stop decay from worsening into cavities however, if you have fine teeth then you do not need to use a paste with high levels of fluoride.

fluoride toothpaste

Selecting The Right Toothpaste

In your next grocery shopping, look at the fluoride levels of your toothpaste.

Do not choose a toothpaste with more than 1000 parts per million ppm for children under 3.

Also, choose those in fluoride safe limits for you and your partner i.e. between 1350 and 1500 ppm.

Additionally, check if the toothpaste has an ADA (American Dental Association) seal.

Do your research to see if it there is any evidence proving its efficacy.

Moreover, it is better if the flavoring agents in the paste lack any sugar.

Besides, fluoride look for how it provides enamel protection against erosion, prevents gingivitis, prevent tooth decay and treats tooth sensitivity.

Summing Up

You should choose your toothpaste carefully.

It helps to protect your teeth from cavities, decay and erosion.

Therefore, on your next grocery trip, go for fluoride toothpaste if you want healthier teeth that stay clean for a long time and keep oral hygiene on top.

 

 

 

 

 

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