Fluoride toothpaste and treatment- benefits and safety


Fluoride treatment or brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste is the gold standard for keeping your teeth’ enamel strong and healthy. Tooth decay is the most chronic disease of childhood. It is caused due to many factors and you have to consider all of them to prevent tooth decay. But fluoride treatment is considered the best among all to stop the progression of cavities as well as teeth strengthening.

Many fluoridated kinds of toothpaste are available for protecting tooth health. While consuming too much fluoride can be problematic, if a person uses fluoride toothpaste in recommended amount then it is quite safe.

How does fluoride work?

Fluoride is a natural cavity fighter. It is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. Tooth enamel is made up of hydroxyapatite, a mix of calcium and phosphate. Your saliva also contains these minerals and keeps your enamel strong.

When bacteria combine with sugars, they produce acid that erodes the tooth. This is where fluoride comes in, it combines with minerals to become fluorapatite and hence protects the teeth against this process called demineralization.

Fluoride promotes the remineralization of enamel. It brings calcium and phosphate ions to the tooth surface to form an acid-resistant layer.

So in this way fluoride helps to protect the teeth against dental decay and plaque build-up in adults and children. A suitable intake of fluoride is must by consuming fluoride-containing food, drinking fluoridated water, fluoride therapy, or using fluoride toothpaste.

When do you start using fluoride toothpaste?

Children need fluoride as soon as the first tooth erupts in their mouth as it makes teeth stronger and protects them from tooth decay. One simple way of keeping the child’s teeth cavity-free is by brushing at least twice daily for two minutes. Use fluoride toothpaste with 1000 ppm of fluoride. Children need a lot of care as soon as the first tooth erupts. A teething baby needs good care like fluoride treatment and regular dental visits.

There are age-specific recommendations for fluoride toothpaste.
Use Fluoride toothpaste according to age recommendations| Fluoride treatment |
  • 6 months to 2 years old– a smear that is rice grain size
  • 2years to 6 years old- pea size amount
  • 6 years and above– ribbon amount

It is better to follow the recommendations of your child’s dentist. Do not rinse and just spit after brushing your teeth as this will allow the fluoride in the toothpaste to work longer.  Just spit the extra toothpaste after brushing and avoid drinking or eating for half an hour post brushing. And ultimately it helps to prevent the development of caries in your teeth.

How to choose the right toothpaste for your child?

Fluoride toothpaste for children should contain 1000 ppm of fluoride| fluoride treatment necessary for child|

This is one of the most frequently asked questions of all mommies and daddies in dental visits.

Choose the toothpaste with 1000 ppm fluoride for your child to maximize the cavity preventive effect.

Why 1000 ppm?  

If fluoride content is less than 1000 ppm, it still increases the chance of having cavities as it is like using non-fluoride toothpaste.

What are the risks of fluoride treatment?

Fluoride treatments are completely a safe procedure. It is unsafe only if a person is allergic to fluorine, although it is extremely rare. Ingesting too much fluoride during early tooth development can lead to dental fluorosis. It is a condition in which white or brown spots can occur due to a change in the color of tooth enamel. It occurs when a child swallows toothpaste rather than spits it. Most cases are mild, however, noticeable changes like dark spots and pits in teeth are seen in moderate to severe cases. A child can develop fluorosis from birth to 8 years of age only if your child ingests fluoride in excess amounts. Dental fluorosis is also rare like allergic reactions under normal circumstances. So, the advantages of fluorine outweigh the disadvantages.

How to use fluoride toothpaste safely if your child can’t spit?

Use fluoride toothpaste safely if your child can't spit| Supervise children under 6 years while they are brushing their teeth with fluoride toothpaste

You don’t need to skip the fluoride toothpaste just because your baby can’t spit. Instead of skipping altogether, use these brushing tips to safely use fluoride toothpaste for your child. You can reduce the risk of dental fluorosis by-

1. Recommended amount of fluoride toothpaste- The first thing to remember is to use only the recommended amount of toothpaste according to the age of the child.

2. Small towel or gauze- Use a clean towel or gauze to remove all the foams and bubbles from the brushing.

3. Supervising children age 6 and under

4. Discouraging the child to swallow toothpaste

Keep the toothpaste tube in a safe place out of reach of the small children. Out of sight, out of mind.

Do I need to worry if my child swallows the fluoride toothpaste?

If your child accidentally swallows the fluoride toothpaste, then don’t worry as long as it is within the recommended dose for his or her age. Just make sure to always dispense the right amount of toothpaste. It can lead to gastrointestinal problems if a large amount of toothpaste is ingested.

Is fluoride treatment safe for children?

Fluoride treatment is a common preventative dental procedure in which a dentist applies a higher concentration of fluoride on your teeth in the form of gel, foam, varnish, or solution. It not only reduces the risk of cavities and future dental issues but also improves the health of the teeth. It prevents premature tooth loss and helps in maintaining baby teeth.

Application of fluoride varnish on developing teeth of your child is a simple quick and painless procedure. Your dentist may recommend the repetition of this preventive treatment every 3-6 months depending on the child’s specific cavity risk.

Is fluoride treatment needed in adults?

A fluoride varnish treatment is a fast and easy way to prevent protection in adults too. The varnish is a clear liquid that is applied to your teeth and exposed root surfaces with a small brush. The fluoride gets absorbed and helps in remineralization. It is recommended in those adults who are suffering from worn tooth enamel and sensitivity. Tooth enamel is a protective layer that gets depleted due to vigorous brushing, acidic foods, and poor dental care habits. If your tooth enamel is worn or you are at high risk of tooth decay, then a course of fluoride treatment is recommended for you. Some adults also repeat their treatment twice a year. Children are the most common recipient of this treatment as they can’t take care of their teeth effectively.

Daily exposure to fluoride is recommended for everyone to fight dental cavities. Those at average risk for tooth decay can generally get enough fluoride by drinking water or by brushing with fluoridated toothpaste.

Why you should use high fluoride toothpaste?

Most adult toothpaste includes about 1450 ppm of fluoride. High fluoride toothpaste contains about 5000 ppm of fluoride which is approximately three times normal toothpaste. It is recommended by dentists for adults who are suffering from teeth sensitivity due to enamel wear or who are at more risk of dental caries. High fluoride toothpaste also helps those who just got the dental treatment done like crowns, fillings, or bridges. It can be safely used for as long as three months or as prescribed by your dentist.

Should I use fluorine mouthwash?

Fluorine mouthwash also helps in preventing tooth decay. Don’t use mouthwash straight after brushing your teeth as it washes away the concentrated fluoride left on your teeth after using fluoride toothpaste. Use a mouthwash at some different time such as after lunch or evening. Do not eat or drink at least for 30 minutes after mouthwash.

Is fluoride-free toothpaste effective?

Fluoride-free toothpaste is comparatively new in the health market. It uses ingredients like hydrated silica, cranberry, xylitol, etc. which increases the ph of the mouth to limit the growth of bacteria. They are effective in cleaning your teeth, but they can’t strengthen your teeth and inhibit bacterial growth like fluoride toothpaste. You will not receive any benefit against tooth decay if toothpaste doesn’t have fluoride in it. If you are allergic to fluoride, then you can try fluorine-free toothpaste.

The Bottomline

If you live in a city without fluoridated water or if you are at more caries risk, then fluoride treatment and fluoride toothpaste are a must for you. This simple treatment could not only keep you healthy but also save you from discomfort and costly dental procedures in the future. With this, I recommend choosing fluoride toothpaste over non-fluoride toothpaste as studies show that fluoride is highly effective, necessary, and safe in preventing and reducing tooth decay in children and adults as well. Remember to brush at night, right before sleeping as it allows high fluoride concentration to remain in the mouth. Of course, don’t forget to brush during the day also.

If you still need help in choosing the right toothpaste or how fluoride treatment can help you or if you have any other concerns, you can schedule your appointment at Shubham Dental Clinic.

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