Why Use Fluoride?
Fluoride seems to be a hot topic these days, so it’s important to stay informed. There are a couple of reasons to brush with fluoride toothpaste:
- It can prevent dental decay. Using this kind of paste is a great way to protect your teeth from cavities or any form of dental decay. The Cochrane Oral Health Group at the University of Manchester School of Dentistry has shown that these pastes reduce tooth decay by 24% more than non-fluoride products.
- You can prevent more costly treatments. Brushing with fluoride can protect yourself from expensive procedures such as root canals — brushing your teeth is a simple route to affordable dental care.
A Warning Against Over-Use
According to a study by The Cochrane Oral Health Group, children under 6 years who ingest large amounts of fluoride in the form of toothpaste have a higher risk of developing fluorosis. That is a good reason for children under 6 years to not use a toothpaste with high fluoride content.
- Fluoridated toothpaste can cause fluorosis. Though it can protect your mouth, this helpful chemical can also be harmful if used excessively. Fluorosis is a condition caused by ingestion of excessive amounts of this chemical. It can cause discoloration or mottling of the teeth, especially in children.
This situation is avoidable if you get a toothpaste with a healthy fluoride content. In that same study, it suggested using toothpaste with a lower concentration. The study recommends that children use a toothpaste with no more than 1,400 parts per million (PPM). This is key to avoiding fluorosis and maintaining affordable dental care.
- Get a toothpaste for your child that has no more than 1,400 PPM and no less than 1,000 PPM of fluoride. If the toothpaste has more than 1,400 PPM, it can cause fluorosis. This is something to avoid for both the sake of health and for the appearance of your child’s teeth. If the toothpaste has less than 1,000 PPM, then it is only as effective as non-fluoridated toothpaste at preventing tooth decay.
Once the child is past 6 years old, the potential danger of getting advanced fluorosis has passed. It may still be a good idea to keep the fluoride content of your toothpaste low for other health reasons and so that you can maintain affordable dental care. Make sure that your toothpaste is in the 1,400-1,000 PPM range, and you will get all the benefits of this tooth-protecting chemical with less of the risk.