Yes we are going to talk about the widely debated topic of Fluoride!
Countless articles claim that fluoride is bad for our health and is a poisonous toxic. Of course we as Dental professionals disagree and you will find that the vast majority of us are strong advocates FOR fluoride. Day in and day out we see both the positive effects that fluoride has on the oral cavity as well as the destruction on teeth (especially young kids teeth!) if they aren’t exposed to fluoride. If you are a non-believer search for images on the internet relating to rampant caries – I think you will be shocked at what you see. Unfortunately, most of us over our career in the Dental Industry have seen one too many of these cases.
Without getting too carried away amongst this debate here is a few sources of where and why fluoride plays a vital role to ensure healthy teeth for life.
Toothpaste – Fluoridated toothpaste helps to strengthen the teeth to prevent tooth decay. Foods in today’s society are highly processed and contain refined and hidden sugars. Bacteria thrives on sugar – consequently, if it is left on the teeth for an extended period of time the teeth become weak and susceptible to tooth decay. Brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste will help to remineralise and protect the teeth fighting off the bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Our mouths are in a continual changing state of demineralizing (this occurs when exposing the teeth to food/drink) and remineralising (replenishing all the lost minerals after eating/drinking through the composition of saliva, water or fluoride).
Our hygiene tip after brushing is to spit but don’t rinse!
Tap water – Drinking tap water will help keep decay away. For years we have been told to drink 2-3L (8 glasses) of water a day for our general health. The same saying goes for maintaining a healthy mouth. Tap water contains fluoride (a safe low dose) that helps to neutralise the acids in the mouth preventing tooth decay.
Soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices should only be drunk in moderation as they are loaded with sugar and acids that if consumed too frequently make the teeth susceptible to tooth decay/erosion.
Remember, in our lifetime we are only given two sets of teeth – The first set (baby teeth) we have lost by about the age of 12, and for the adult teeth we all know most of us plan on living fulfilling lives to the age of 75+ so caring for your teeth from a young age is essential.
At our surgery – Yes we like to encourage you to come and see us every six months for a routine check up and clean. At this appointment often a higher concentration of fluoride is applied to the teeth to help keep them nice and strong. At this visit an inspection of the teeth will allow us to determine if you are more susceptible to decay or erosive sources. If this is the case we may recommend other oral hygiene products with the aim of prevention in mind.
Teeth are the only part of our body that can’t repair itself! That is why it is essential to follow the advice from us to ensure that you can keep your pearly white teeth for a lifetime. Fluoride is your teeth’s best friend!