Do I need fluoride?

Do I need fluoride?

Frequently asked questions about fluoride

  1. What is fluoride?
  2. What are the benefits of fluoride?
  3. Myths about fluoride
  4. Where can I find fluoride?
  5. How much fluoride do I need?


1. What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, water, and foods. Fluoride is the mineral form of the ion Fluorine. Fluoride is found in toothpaste as the stable compound sodium fluoride or stannous fluoride.


2. What are the benefits of fluoride?

Fluoride has been scientifically proven to reduce the rate of caries in children and adults.

Fluoride binds to enamel on the surfaces of our teeth to increase the strength of enamel and prevent demineralisation from occurring, which is the first stage of tooth decay. Fluoride replenishes the minerals lost from enamel during periods of high acidity for hours after the exposure, due to fluoride levels remaining in the saliva.

Increasing the concentration of fluoride which interacts with your teeth is the easiest way to reduce the chances of dental decay.


3. Myths about fluoride

There are some common misconceptions and concerns which state that fluoride is harmful to human health. These concerns have been researched and fluoride has been proven to have no harmful effect on humans.

Dental Fluorosis is a dental condition due to the disturbances of tooth formation due to excessive fluoride consumption. Fluorosis can occur if children swallow fluoride in large quantities before the age of 8.


4Where can I find fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral found in multiple sources:

  1. Rivers, rain, salt water and lakes all contain fluoride! Fluoride is naturally found within the water of some areas of Great Britain. Fluoride is also artificially added to some areas of Great Britain, where the population are deemed to have a high risk of dental decay.  You can use this search tool to find out if you live in a fluoridated area:
  1. Spinach, grapes, raisins, black tea, and potatoes all contain fluoride. The levels of fluoride within food are small and can vary depending on how the food is prepared e.g., baked potatoes contain more fluoride than fried potatoes.
  2. Toothpaste! Different brands and types of toothpaste contain different concentrations of fluoride. Fluoride comes in a variety of compounds to help stabilise it, the most common form being Sodium-Fluoride or Stannous fluoride – the latter contains a higher concentration. Check the ingredients list if you are unsure if your toothpaste contains fluoride. Your dentist can prescribe a higher strength fluoride toothpaste, if required.
  1. Mouthwashes can contain fluoride. Dentists can prescribe higher strength mouthwashes, if required.
  2. Topical applications of fluoride can be applied by your dentist after a scale and polish appointment.


5. How much fluoride do I need?

Brushing should occur twice a day with an over-the-counter toothpaste containing fluoride. The daily intake of fluoride depends on your age:

Babies and children up to 3 years old should only have a smear of toothpaste.

Children from the ages of 4 to 6 should have a pea sized amount of toothpaste. This prevents children from swallowing excessive fluoride.

Children over 8 and adults should use a toothpaste containing 1000-1450ppm of fluoride – which can be found on the ingredients list. Children over 8 and adults can also use mouthwashes, prescription mouthwashes and prescription toothpastes on the advice of a dentist.


If you would like more information about fluoride, or if you would like to book an appointment with one of our dentists, why not give us a call on 01772 335207 or fill out the contact form and we will be in touch.

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