Do You Need Fluoride for Your Teeth?
Since the invention of fluoride toothpaste in the 1970s, there has been controversy and misunderstanding surrounding this naturally-occurring mineral. While science and dentists back its presence in toothpaste because of its ability to prevent tooth decay, some people are still unsure of it. So, you might wonder, do you need fluoride for your teeth, or is regular toothpaste without fluoride just as beneficial or even better?
What Exactly is Fluoride?
Before answering that question, you should first understand fluoride and where it comes from. Fluoride is an anion of fluorine, which is commonly found in rocks, soil, water, and air. It also occurs in lots of food and beverages, but don’t worry yourself. It’s a natural part of the earth, and it’s everywhere! The government adds fluoride to the drinking water as it’s good for oral health, but even without that input, people would still consume fluoride naturally.
Is Fluoride Necessary in Toothpaste?
You might wonder why fluoride toothpaste gets made in the first place. The answer is simple: fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. That’s because it’s a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel, which protects your teeth against bacteria and acids. It can even reverse the early signs of tooth decay!
So, the answer is yes, fluoride is necessary for toothpaste if you want to protect your teeth to the max. Some of the other ingredients commonly found in toothpaste include:
Is There Any Reason to Use a Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?
Fluoride free toothpaste is available to purchase all over, but are they necessary? Fluoride-free toothpaste can clean teeth, but it won’t work as well at preventing cavities due to the absence of fluoride.
However, there might be some instances where a person chooses a fluoride-free toothpaste, such as a fluoride allergy. You should note that fluoride allergies are very rare, considering it’s a naturally occurring mineral most people are in contact with daily, so most people won’t need to buy fluoride-free toothpaste. If you are allergic to fluoride toothpaste, use the alternatives with no fluoride in them.
When you look at fluoride toothpaste vs. non-fluoride toothpaste, fluoride wins every time.
Where Else is Fluoride Found?
Fluoride is found everywhere. It comes from rocks and makes its way into water and food. It also gets added by the government to tap water, which has caused some fluoride controversies over the years.
The reason fluoride first got added to tap water is that, back in the 1940s, scientists discovered people living in cities and towns with a high level of fluoride in their water had fewer cavities than those who lived elsewhere. That was the beginning of understanding how essential fluoride is for good oral health!
For the last seventy years, the government has added fluoride to people’s daily water source with full backing from scientists and dentists alike. This has had an incredible impact on oral health and has been described as one of the best public health interventions ever made.
How Safe is Fluoride?
You now know the answer to: can fluoride help prevent tooth decay? The answer is, of course, yes. However, you might still be concerned about its safety due to the controversies surrounding adding fluoride to tap water.
The good news is that fluoride from tap water is entirely safe to consume. The only time fluoride might be considered dangerous is when levels get over 4.0mg/L, but don’t worry, as you’ll never find that level in your tap water!
Dental fluorosis may also occur in young children if they’re exposed continuously to too much fluoride as a child, which causes white or brown marks on the teeth. It is rare, especially for severe cases. You should also note that fluorosis doesn’t occur when children get a fluoride sealant – it tends to occur due to being exposed continuously to too much fluoride over time. Overall, the pros of fluoride far outweigh the cons.
What is Fluoride Treatment?
Did you know you can get fluoride treatments at the dentist? Due to the benefits of fluoride for the teeth, dentists offer a fluoride varnish to help strengthen enamel and prevent tooth decay. Many people get this twice a year. It’s particularly beneficial for those that live in areas that don’t have much fluoride in the water and for people who are more prone to cavities.
Top Tips for Brushing Your Teeth with a Fluoride Toothpaste
Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste is the best way to improve oral hygiene. Here are some other tips for brushing properly:
- Brush for Two Minutes
Most dentists recommend brushing for at least two minutes every time. Set a timer if you have trouble knowing when two minutes have passed!
- Don’t Brush Too Hard
You might think rigorously brushing means being thorough, but if you brush too hard, you could actually damage your teeth and gums.
- Use a Good Toothbrush
It’s better to use a high-quality toothbrush than a cheap one. Ideally, use an electric toothbrush to clean your teeth.
- Floss Before Brushing
Flossing before brushing helps remove bacteria, meaning you are better protected against tooth decay and gum disease. It’s generally better to do it before brushing so that you get rid of any food or plaque stuck between your teeth first before brushing it all away.
- Brush All Areas of Teeth
Some people brush for two minutes without cleaning their teeth properly. That is because they don’t brush every tooth thoroughly. To ensure all your teeth stay clean and healthy, spend plenty of time on each tooth when you brush your teeth, meaning you miss no part of your mouth.
Fluoride in toothpaste is an excellent addition as it prevents tooth decay and strengthens enamel. Moreover, it’s an addition backed by scientists and dentists – including us here at bafdentistry!
We offer a comprehensive list of family dental services, including a fluoride sealant. This treatment is especially beneficial for children, as it helps ward off bacteria and protect enamel during their early years. Combine a fluoride treatment with fluoride toothpaste, and your oral hygiene will be better than ever.