The Benefits Of Fluoride On Your Dental Health
Fluoride is often a source of controversy when it comes up in discussions, with many claiming that is harmful to your health and body. But what exactly is fluoride, is its safe and how can it be used to look after your oral health and teeth?
What Is Fluoride?
Simply put, Flouride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and most drinking water. The only difference that you will find the exact concentrations of fluoride present and these vary based on where in the UK you are.
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride is a building block of tooth creation, and having enough in your diet at an early age can help provide strong healthy teeth well into adulthood. It helps to make the tooth enamel (the hard outer layer of teeth) stronger and more resistant to tooth decay.
Once your teeth are formed and being used, regular use of fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwashes helps to remineralise the enamel on your tooth and repair some damage caused by acidic bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Where Can I Find Fluoride?
The most obvious place to find fluoride is in your toothpaste and mouthwashes that you should use daily. This is how most people have a good supply of fluoride.
Of course, as mentioned before food and drink will naturally contain low amounts of fluoride. Some water boards also add low concentrations of fluoride to the water supply, though this is only in some areas. This community water fluoridation has been shown to significantly reduce the occurrence of tooth decay without any side effects.
Is Fluoride Safe?
Like most things, too much of something can be harmful, regardless of what it is. Having an excess of fluoride, especially at a young age can result in a condition known as fluorosis.
This condition results in the appearance of white lines or flecks on the surface of the teeth. This is not harmful and is purely cosmetic. Often this is why toothpaste for children contains a lower concentration of fluoride until the teeth have developed sufficiently.
Overall the scientific consensus is that fluoride toothpaste and correctly fluoridated water is of a huge benefit to dental health and helps to reduce the chance of tooth decay with no harmful side effects.
When Should I Use Fluoride?
You should be using a fluoride-containing toothpaste whenever you brush your teeth, ideally twice a day. Not only does this remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth but it will then coat your teeth in a thin layer of fluoride that will help to strengthen your teeth. Make sure you spit but don’t rinse!
You can also use a fluoride-containing mouth wash, but do this at a separate time as it can wash away most of the toothpaste you just applied!
For most people, a toothpaste containing around 1400ppm of fluoride will be plenty so aim to make sure your toothpaste has this. Should you need a higher concentration your dentist will be able to let you know.
Your dentist can also apply a fluoride coating directly should you need it, but this is normally just for younger patients.
Overall, Fluoride is a safe and effective way to help prevent dental decay and forms the basis of strong teeth later in life. As with anything too much can occasionally be harmful but you would have to make a considerable effort to have too much!
Make sure you use a fluoride-containing toothpaste twice a day and speak to your dentist if you ever have any concerns.