Have you ever thought about what the fluoride in our toothpaste does?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in many foods and in all drinking water. Most toothpastes also now contain fluoride, and it is the main way that most people get their fluoride.
Many reports have been published throughout the world about fluoride. After many years, the scientific conclusion is that fluoride toothpaste and correctly fluoridated water are of great benefit to dental health, help to reduce decay, and cause no harmful side effects to general health.
Tooth decay is a major health concern worldwide and is still a big problem in the UK. Despite being preventable, it is one of the most common reasons for hospital admission in children.
Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay.
Fluoride is beneficial to teeth because it helps to:
- Rebuild weakened tooth enamel.
- Slow down the loss of minerals from tooth enamel.
- Reverse early signs of tooth decay
- Prevent the growth of certain harmful oral bacteria.
A range of toothpastes are available containing different levels of fluoride.
- 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 more than 1,000ppm fluoride.
- Adults should use a toothpaste containing 1350ppm to 1500ppm fluoride.
Oral hygiene advice
It is important that although over the past year all our routines have changed, that we make sure not to forget our oral hygiene.
- Brush at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes.
- Use interdental cleaning aids to clean between teeth in those areas that brushing alone misses. There are a wide range of interdental products available so there is bound to be one for you: floss, tape, interdental brushes, floss picks or an air flosser.
- Parents should supervise their children’s brushing, starting brushing as soon as their first tooth appears and using only a pea-sized smear of fluoride toothpaste until they are about 7 years old.
- Spit your toothpaste out after brushing and do not rinse. This will help to ensure that the fluoride stays on your teeth longer.
- If you use a mouthwash use this at different times to brushing to ensure that you do not wash away the beneficial fluoride from your toothpaste.
- Aim to limit sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes to reduce the number of acid attacks your teeth must contend with each day.