Fluoride is commonly found in toothpaste, mouthwashes, and dental gels. But what exactly is fluoride, why do dentists rave about it, and as a parent, should I have any concerns about fluoride?

Myth 1: fluoride is not natural

It is a mineral that is present in nature from many sources, from our natural water supply to tea, fish, and beer. When added to drinking water, it has been shown to drastically reduce tooth decay. The World Health Organization and Public Health England are among several other important health bodies that have endorsed the merits of fluoride in improving oral health. Research has consistently shown that brushing with fluoride toothpaste is the single most important way of reducing your child’s risk of tooth decay.

Myth 2: fluoride is bad for you

Not true! Fluoride works its magic in several different ways…

  1. Whilst your child is growing fluoride is incorporated into their developing teeth making the enamel tougher before the teeth enter the mouth
  2. Once the teeth are fully through fluoride continues its action by making the adult teeth already present in the mouth more decay-resistant
  3. it also interferes with the complex demineralization and remineralization processes that occur when you consume sugar. When it is present during remineralization, the minerals deposited are harder than they would otherwise be helping to keep your teeth nice and strong

Myth 3: fluoridated water is dangerous

In the UK around 10% of the population benefit from a water supply with it either occurring naturally or being added to a level that has been shown to improve oral health. If you are curious to know whether this applies to where you live the majority of water companies have an online function to check this.

In areas with fluoridated water, 5-year-olds are 15% less likely to have had tooth decay than children from non-fluoridated areas. Also, fluoridated areas have 45% fewer admissions to hospital for dental decay, which often results in teeth being removed under general anesthetic.

With regards to other health complications, a report by the Water Fluoridation Health Monitor for England by Public Health England in 2014 proved there was no evidence for a difference in the rate of the following medical conditions in populations living with it or without it in the water:

Myth 4: it causes side effects

Although fluoride is very good for our teeth you must use the correct concentration and amount for the age of your child. As a general rule children under three should use a smear of toothpaste containing no less than 1,000 ppm fluoride and children between the are of 3 and 6 should use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing more than 1,000 ppm fluoride.

Too much fluoride for our teeth can result in a condition called fluorosis, which can cause little white flecks on the teeth when mild and sometimes larger brown patches when more severe. The risk of fluorosis from consuming too much fluoride is linked to the amount of toothpaste much more than the actual concentration. To avoid fluorosis make sure you know how much paste to put on your child’s brush and make sure your child does not eat or lick the toothpaste (where possible!).

So what can I do to make sure my child gets the right amount of fluoride for their teeth?

The most important thing you can do is assist your child with their brushing using fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride also comes in different forms such as mouthwashes, fluoride gel, and even as a component of some tooth-colored fillings. Pop into Happy Kids Dental for a consultation and we can provide a fluoride plan tailored to your child’s oral health needs.

Resources:

happykidsdental.co.uk

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. Growing Smiles is a pediatric dentistry in Anna, Richardson, Plano, Garland, Murphy we have Pediatric Services in Texas: Early Childhood Care, Preventive Care, General Treatments, Sedation Dentistry, Special Needs Dentistry, Emergency Service and Orthodontic (Braces & Invisalign) For more information call us to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.