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What’s Better: Fluoride or Fluoride-free Toothpaste?

What’s Better: Fluoride or Fluoride-free Toothpaste?

Oftentimes, we tend to forget just how important oral hygiene is to our overall health. That said, oral hygiene is based on repeating several important activities daily. Some of these include cleaning your teeth, flossing, and teeth polishing. But, much like each of these activities, the ingredients used to maintain the perfect oral health matter as well. Actually, many experts would concur that toothpaste itself does not matter as much as its compounds.

Therefore, today we will keep our focus on why fluoride represents one of the most essential compounds found in toothpastes. Precisely, we will discuss the main benefits of fluoride. We will also elaborate on the reasons it is a key ingredient in high-quality toothpastes. Many dentists worldwide have discussed the importance of choosing fluoride-free toothpaste instead of fluoride-free toothpaste. As it seems, today’s trendy dental products have consumers buying fluoride-free toothpaste, despite experts’ warnings not to.

So, is fluoride-free toothpaste truly better to use than fluoride-based toothpaste?

Fluoride: What is it and how does it impact our oral health?

By definition, fluoride is a natural mineral found in many water supplies and surfaces. These include oceans, lakes, rivers and more.

Initially, we know fluoride as being part of the community water we drink. However, fluoride is also used in oral hygiene products, much like toothpastes, gargle solutions and more. The reason for this is because fluoride fortifies the enamel and prevents tooth decay in return.

According to scientific evidence, fluoridated water sources reduced caries by 25% in the population of all ages. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledged that water fluoridation is 1 of 10 greatest public health accomplishments of the 20th century. While many acknowledge the positive effects fluoride offers, people tend to go for the non-fluoride types of products. Why is that so? Well, one of the leading reasons might simply be misinformation on the topic. Therefore, let’s learn the effects of fluoride vs. fluoride-free toothpaste.

Fluoride vs. Fluoride-free Toothpaste

While researching opinions on fluoride vs. fluoride-free toothpaste, we found that many consumers don’t use fluoride at all. In fact, many of them believe fluoride is a dangerous compounded to be avoided at all times.

As a response to this, experts suggest fluoride is not only healthy to use but is also necessary for our teeth. As it is a natural toothpaste ingredient, fluoride acts naturally as well and fights cavity effectively at the same tie. Ultimately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the united states, listed fluoride as beneficial and healthy to use as well.

As per countless experts, consumers are confused on the true use of fluoride, which makes fluoride-based toothpaste unpopular.  Edmond Hewlett, restorative dentistry professor states he is concerned of people avoiding fluoride toothpaste. In his opinion, it is important to raise more awareness on the benefits of fluoride. Commonly, fluoride-free toothpastes are labeled as a safer way to keep your teeth healthy. However, Hewlett says no other ingredient comes close to the benefits of fluoride.

He further elaborates that a 70-year research only confirmed the benefits fluoride delivers. Finally, that makes fluoride irreplaceable in toothpastes.


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How Fluoride Helps Protect the Teeth?

Fluoride is easily absorbed by the tooth enamel while washing your teeth. Once it absorbs, fluoride is able to fix the enamel and strengthen its texture and resistance. At the same time, it reintroduces calcium and phosphorous to the enamel, a process otherwise known as re-mineralization. When your teeth get enough minerals, they protect the enamel until it is time for re-mineralization.  Minerals also prevents a condition known as enamel rotting or dental fluorosis from happening.

The best way to use fluoride-infused toothpaste is by using pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste only. Many believe, the more toothpaste you use the better. But, a pea-sized toothpaste amount will protect your teeth without causing any harmful effects.

How to choose the best toothpaste for you?

As per dentist Matthew Messina, a spokesman for the ADA, here’s what to look for in toothpastes.

  • Make sure all toothpaste ingredients have been previously approved by the American Dental Association. You can find a list of approved oral hygiene compounds online.
  • Look for fluoride-based toothpaste. The ADA is recommending fluoride toothpaste which list the compound on the label, followed by a safety guarantee as well.
  • Always choose toothpaste that has absolutely no traces of sugar in it. Sugar is a nemesis to your teeth, and can only cause further complications. By using sugar-infused toothpaste (even for the flavor itself), you risk suffering a variety of conditions. Such are enamel damage, gingivitis, and over-sensitive teeth.

Aside from labeling, you also have to maintain your oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss after meals and use disinfecting gargle liquids. When thinking about whether to use a fluoride vs. fluoride-free toothpaste, always go for the latter as it helps prevent cavities successfully.

How do cavities happen?

Otherwise known as tooth decay, cavities are cracking in the teeth and damaging the outer tooth layer. The oral cavity is full of bacteria, also referred to as plaque. This plaque mostly forms when we consume sugary drinks or sweets, and it takes its time deteriorating the tooth. As a result of the process, you will probably begin to note small holes in your teeth. Yes, those are cavities, and you will have to treat them as soon as possible.

As per Dr. Ivanov, a Miami orthodontist, a fluoride-based toothpaste will help deal with cavity easily. On the flip side, fluoride-free toothpaste won’t fight the cavity at all, which oftentimes worsens the condition.

Fluoride has been proven as effective in countless cases of removing excessive teeth plaque. Fluoride is basically the only ingredient powerful enough to eliminate plaque. Therefore, the solution when choosing a toothpaste is more than obvious.

When to avoid using fluoride?

In cases of a fluoride allergy, avoid using the compound in any form. Make sure your drinking water is also fluoride-free. The best way to see if fluoride is for you is by making an appointment with your dentist. Ultimately, if you prefer a fluoride-free toothpaste, you can make up for the lost levels of fluoride through food.

Finally, toddlers are likely to swallow more fluoride than necessary, so be mindful when brushing their teeth.

Supplemental Content

Fluoride prevents dental cavities and strengthens teeth. It keeps the outer protective layer of teeth (enamel) healthy and fights bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. Fluoride treatment is so helpful to those who already have plaque and/or tartar (calculus). Plaque refers to the sticky substance that forms on top of the enamel and is invisible. Tartar is hard rather than sticky, and has yellowish-brown color. While plaque can be removed easily at home, tartar requires professional dental cleaning. If plaque is ignored, it creates a favorable conducive environment for bacteria to thrive in. It produces acid that erodes teeth enamel and gum tissue, making it easier for bacteria to enter and damage the pulp (a section with nerves and blood vessels).

How professional fluoride treatment is done?

Dentists use very concentrated products: varnish, gel, form or rinse. The right one is selected based on the patient’s dental history. These can be placed on teeth with a brush, tray, swab or mouthwash. They have more fluoride content than the amount found in water or toothpaste and are applied in just a few minutes. After the application process, a patient is advised not to eat or drink anything to help the applied fluoride permeate the tough enamel.

Cost of fluoride treatment and how often to get treated

If you have a dental insurance cover, it will cover fluoride treatments for kids. As for you, there may be a small amount you will pay out of the pocket-about 10 to 30 dollars. Concerning the frequency of fluoride treatments, the American Dental Association recommends getting it every three, six or twelve months. If you are a high risk patient, meaning that you are prone to cavities, your dental specialist might give you a special fluoride gel or rinse to continue using at home. People are at high risk if:

  • Eat a poor diet or have an eating disorder
  • Have a decreased saliva production
  • Lack expert dental care
  • Have weak enamel
  • Don’t brush and floss as required every day.

If you need more fluoride from your diet, you might want to consume tea, water, bony fish, infant formula and supplements. Food cooked in water can give you extra fluoride too.  It is also important to know the amount of fluoride content that each member of your family should consume per day. A child below 3 years of age needs 0.1 to 1.5mg, children between 4 and 6 years require 1 to 2.5mg, 7 to10 years old kids need 1.5 to 2.5mg and teens and adults require 1.5 to 4mg per day. Note that infants below 3 years of age must only brush their teeth with you around. They require just a thin layer of fluoride toothpaste, smaller that a grain of rice. Those who are 3 to 6 years of age may use pea size fluoride toothpaste content. It is important to follow the instructions of your pediatric dentist.

Fluoride Treatment Benefits

This treatment restores the right amount of fluoride to the tooth surfaces that are prone to bacteria attack. As well as this, the procedure stops further growth of oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. While fluoride cannot remove tooth decay that already exists, it can prevent it from progressing in to the dentin and other inner components of a tooth.

If there is too much fluoride in teeth though, white specks can develop on adult teeth, as well as pitting and staining on teeth.  Excess fluoride content in the body can also lead to dense but weak bone, and issues with bone homeostasis. Always follow manufacturer recommendations and consult your dentist.

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