Fluoride is a safe additive that helps protect billions of Canadian teeth particularly those who can’t afford proper dental care. We are aware that many are skeptical of fluoride use and this usually stems from misinformation.
Here we cover some very important information about fluoride so you can rest assured that you have nothing to fear and allow this natural superhero cavity fighter do its job.
Where does fluoride come from?
It’s found naturally in rocks, soil and water and even tea! It is one of the top 20 most common elements in the earth’s crust. Fluoride is actually a chemical ion of fluorine, and when combined with another ion like sodium a cavity fighter is formed!
It is often called nature’s cavity fighter, it helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making the enamel (the outer surface of your teeth) more resistant to the acid attacks that cause tooth decay. When these fluoride compounds are in your mouth, they can actually make your teeth stronger and help to prevent cavities. They can even reverse early tooth decay through remineralization.
How does sugar cause cavities?
When you eat things like candy, crackers or even pasta bacteria starts feasting on the carbohydrates found in these foods. This then produces acids that starts attacking the enamel on your teeth. The calcium and phosphate begin to be eroded from the tooth surface leaving you more susceptible to cavities and decay.
How does fluoride work to protect my teeth?
Now, this is when saliva steps in to do its thing, It actually helps interrupt the attack as it covers your teeth and adds back calcium and phosphate that has been stripped away from the acids created by the bacteria and foods you are eating. Sounds great doesn’t it?
What if you could boost that defense mechanism and make your saliva a superhero cavity fighter? Well you can by simply adding fluoride that is present in your toothpaste, water and even applied to your teeth by your dentist.
This, in combination with your saliva, creates the most incredibly powerful defense system for your teeth and can actually prevent cavities from developing and make your teeth more resistant to decay.
Is there such a thing as too much fluoride?
According to The New England Journal of Medicine, skeletal fluorosis can develop in the bones if a person takes in too much fluoride. This is an extremely rare condition and usually only occurs if a person consumes quantities of fluoride that are significantly higher than average, such as by drinking a pitcher of tea made with over 100 tea bags daily! Unless you plan on drinking gallons of tea or swallowing large amounts of toothpaste or other fluoride supplements, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll consume too much fluoride as an adult.
The Canadian Dental Association suggests when brushing a child’s teeth ages 3-6 years they should be assisted by an adult. Only a small amount (a portion the size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used and you can ensure that your child is not swallowing it. Children who are younger and at low risk for tooth decay should have their teeth brushed by and adult with a toothbrush.
In BC, it is recommended that a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) be used as soon as the first tooth erupts, as there is no municipal water fluoridation anywhere in our province.
Bottom line, fluoride is found in many natural sources in our environment and food such as water, tea, toothpaste and some foods like chicken, fish and rice. Foods that contain fluoride usually contain a very low concentration so it is important to use a fluoride toothpaste to make sure you have enough to make a positive impact on your oral health.
Remember if you’re concerned about fluoride dangers or any other oral health issues consult your dentist to help you make the right choices for your health and the health of your family.