Fluoride is a common ingredient in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and some water supplies. But why is it so important? What is the benefit?
Myth 1: Fluoride is not natural
Fluoride is a mineral that is present in nature from many sources, from our natural water supply to tea, fish, and beer. The World Health Organization and Public Health England are among a number of 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 harmful
Fluoride works its magic in a number of different ways:
- Whilst your child is growing fluoride is incorporated into their developing teeth making the enamel tougher before the teeth enter the mouth
- Fluoride makes the adult teeth more decay resistant
- When fluoride is present during remineralisation, 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 fluoride either occurring naturally or being added to a level that has been shown to improve oral health.
In areas with fluoridated water, 5-year-olds are 15% less likely to have had tooth decay than children from non-fluoridated areas.
Myth 4: Fluoride causes side effects
Although fluoride is very good for our teeth it is important you use the correct concentration and amount for the age of your child.
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.
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 you 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-coloured fillings. Pop into Teeth & Smiles for a consultation and we can provide a fluoride plan tailored to your child’s oral health needs.
Are you concerned that your child is not getting enough fluoride? Book in for a consultation at Teeth & Smiles today!