Everyone knows that you should brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day, but does it matter if you use fluoride toothpaste or not? With so many choices in kinds of toothpaste, we thought we’d spend some time discussing the role fluoride plays in your dental routine and how important it is to use fluoride toothpaste.
What is fluoride?
We find that a lot of people are kinda scared of fluoride, but you should know that fluoride is a naturally occurring chemical found in the earth. Interestingly enough, you can find fluoride in small amounts in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and even some plants.
However, it is not safe for us to ingest fluoride as it can be poisonous, especially in large quantities. Thus the reason why children younger than six years of age are not required to use fluoride toothpaste (particularly if they haven’t yet mastered spitting while brushing). If you were to swallow fluoride toothpaste (granted, no toothpaste is meant to be swallowed), you could develop fluorosis, which disrupts the development of tooth enamel and can cause white spots or streaks on the teeth. Therefore, you should always spit out fluoride toothpaste when brushing your teeth.
That said, fluoride has a number of great benefits to your teeth, including the prevention of tooth decay.
The Benefits of Fluoride
First and foremost, the benefits of fluoride are limited to topical application. Do not, under any circumstances, ingest fluoride in any way.
However, any sort of exposure to fluoride is an effective way to prevent cavities, and the main reason your dentist or doctor will ask if you are on city or well water. That exposure can include water, toothpaste or mouthwash. Specifically, fluoride toothpaste can reduce plaque, remove tartar and protect your teeth while keeping them clean. Furthermore, simply adding fluoride to your dental routine can attract other beneficial minerals, such as calcium, to your teeth. Calcium helps us to maintain strong, healthy bones and teeth.
What about Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?
Oftentimes, we see fluoride-free toothpaste options available for kids to avoid the threat of a child swallowing fluoride and developing fluorosis. However, more and more fluoride-free toothpaste options are becoming available to the general public.
These non-fluorinated toothpastes typically use natural ingredients such as hydrated silica, cranberry extract, and xylitol to keep bacteria from forming on your teeth and remove plaque. Fluoride-free kinds of toothpaste can be very effective at cleaning your teeth, but don’t necessarily do anything to strengthen your teeth the way fluoride kinds of toothpaste can.
Therefore, if your child is capable of spitting while they brush their teeth, we recommend going ahead and switching to a fluoride toothpaste option so that you can get all the benefits from brushing their teeth, and fully prevent cavities.
Which type of toothpaste is right for you?
Both fluoride and fluoride-free toothpastes have their pros and cons, but we recommend that you use fluoride toothpaste as part of your dental health routine, prevent cavities and protect your teeth from plaque and tartar buildup. If you have any further questions, you can always give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk with you about your unique situation. Learn more about the complete list of services offered by Dr. Garrett by calling our office and scheduling a new patient appointment. We’d love to make your family part of ours!