At Newby Dental Practice, as a new dentist in Scarbrough, we appreciate how important dental education is. One question that we always get asked is “what is the benefit of fluoride, and how to I make sure my toothpaste has the right amount?”
Well, here are the facts…..
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in many foods and in all drinking water. The amount of fluoride in water varies from area to area.
What are the benefits of fluoride?
Fluoride can greatly help dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. It also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on your teeth produce.
Children who have fluoride when their teeth are developing tend to have shallower grooves in their teeth, so plaque can be more easily removed. Plaque is a thin, sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth.
Is there enough fluoride in my water supply?
Possibly. However, only a few places have enough natural fluoride to benefit dental health. In other places it is added to water. Your water supplier will be able to tell you whether your water supply has fluoride added. The amount of fluoride added to the water will vary depending on which area you live in.
Fluoride is also in some foods and drinks, for example fish and tea. One cup of tea can contain between 0.3 milligrams and 0.5 milligrams of fluoride, and if you drink it with milk your teeth will also benefit from the calcium. It is best to drink tea without sugar to reduce the risk of tooth decay even more.
What about fluoride toothpaste?
Most toothpastes now contain fluoride, and most people get their fluoride this way. Fluoride toothpaste is very effective in preventing tooth decay.
In areas where the water supply has fluoride added, fluoride toothpaste gives extra protection.
All children up to three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). After three years old they should use a toothpaste that contains 1350ppm to 1500ppm.
Parents should supervise their children’s brushing, and use only a pea-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste until they are about 7 years old.
The minimum fluoride concentration adults should have is 1350ppm.This is in most regular fluoride toothpastes.
Spit out after brushing and do not rinse, so that the fluoride stays on your teeth longer. You can use a mouthwash too, with fluoride in, but make sure it is at a different time to toothbrushes, for maximum benefit.