Written by I love my Smile Oral Hygienist – Ina Alberts

There is a growing trend towards using fluoride free toothpastes.  This is because of the misconception that fluoridated toothpaste can be harmful to our health.  Let’s recap…

Dental caries (tooth decay) develops when bacteria in plaque metabolize sugars in our diet to produce acid that demineralize tooth structure.  The pH of saliva is around 7.8 and is ideal for tooth remineralization.  As we consume food and beverages the oral pH drops below 5.5 and teeth are at risk of mineral loss until the pH recovers.  Prolonged periods of a low pH cause more demineralization than mineralization and with time results in damage to our teeth.

Excessive fluoride intake during the first 8 years of life (during tooth development) can result in Fluorosis (white or brown speckles, surface irregularities or pits on teeth).  Although Fluorosis is not a disease it can have cosmetic implications.  Parental vigilance is key to preventing Fluorosis. Fluoride can be present in drinking water and beverages and that should be kept in mind.  It is important to introduce fluoride toothpaste (right concentration for age) at an appropriate age (when a child will obey and spit out the toothpaste), only to use a pea sized amount and under adult supervision.

Acute fluoride toxicity can occur after ingesting one or more doses of fluoride over a short time period.  This happens mainly due to unsupervised ingestion of products for dental and oral hygiene use.  When it is present in saliva in the right concentration its action is beneficial through remineralization of tooth enamel.  Keep fluoride containing products out of reach of children.  Although fluoride toxicity usually doesn’t have serious consequences, it sends several hundred children to emergency rooms each year.

We should recognize that fluoride is beneficial on tooth development and protection again cavities.  Without it we are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay.   Use of a fluoride containing toothpaste twice daily is the most effective and cheapest way to protect our teeth from tooth decay.

ilovemysmile.co.za | info@ilovemysmile.co.za | 012 348 0665

ilovemysmile.co.za | info@ilovemysmile.co.za | 012 348 0665