When looking for a new toothpaste or mouthwash, many people reach for products with buzzwords such as whitening, anti-cavity, and fluoride. While most know that having fluoride in their toothpaste is considered a good thing, many do not understand why. If you feel unsure about fluoride in your tooth care routine, Lasting Smiles, a Bethlehem Dental Clinic, is here to break down the top myth about fluoride.
Others, however, may see the word and grow suspicious, labeling it as something toxic. To keep it simple, fluoride is a mineral that can be naturally found in water, food, air, plants, and the ground. Many of us consume fluoride without even knowing it in popular foods such as grapes, spinach, or potatoes.
Although some are skeptical of fluoride’s benefits, many dentists have come to the conclusion that it plays a key role in dental health, protecting teeth from decaying. When you eat or drink, the bacteria in your mouth mixes with the sugars found in the food or drink. In turn, when this bacteria interacts with the sugar, your mouth creates a mix of acids that weaken teeth and eventually lead to tooth decay.
To help combat decay, many people use fluoride, which clings to the calcium and phosphate already present in your mouth to help reinforce damaged enamel. Fluoride also replaces any weaker enamel with fluorapatite, a stronger, decay-resistant mineral. This helps create a powerful defense system against the damage from the everyday act of eating and drinking.
While there are clear benefits to some amounts of fluoride, too much of one thing is never good. According to Cochrane, the most effective fluoride toothpaste contains between 1000 to 1500 parts per million of fluoride. If you reach for a tube of toothpaste that has well over 1500 parts per million of fluoride, it may still be safe to use, but in moderation.
Ingesting too much fluoride can result in what is known as dental fluorosis, or a discoloring of your teeth. Dental fluorosis is identified by discoloration found as white marks, lines, or patches on your teeth. If you begin to notice any of these signs, schedule a visit with your dentist to discuss whether dental fluorosis may be the cause.
Another popular product that contains supplemental fluoride is mouthwash, however some dentists at a Bethlehem dental clinic may recommend taking fluoride in the form of a tablet if you need a high dose. This is a popular option for children that grow up with little traces of fluoride found in their water supply.
If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to supplementing your dental routine with fluoride, Lasting Smiles of Bethlehem is here to help. Lasting Smiles is a Bethlehem dental clinic conveniently located in Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania.
For a full list of our dental care options, check out Lasting Smiles of Bethlehem online or for scheduling an appointment today, please call 610.861.0777. We look forward to helping you protect your smile with our professional dental services.