The benefits of fluoride

At Wellington Dental Clinic in Nanaimo, we recommend that all patients use a fluoride-containing toothpaste to help ensure that their teeth stay strong and cavity free. We understand that some patients are worried about ingesting fluoride, or allowing their children to use a fluoride- based toothpaste. Keeping on reading for some more information regarding the benefits of fluoride and how to safely use fluoride-containing products.

What is fluoride

Many people think that fluoride is a man-made chemical. However, it is actually a mineral which naturally occurs in soil and some foods. Many municipalities add fluoride to their water supply to ensure that people in the community are getting adequate amounts to keep their teeth healthy.   

How does fluoride benefit teeth?

Fluoride helps to remineralize the enamel of the teeth, which serves to harden and strengthen them.  Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay in both adults and children. Most patients get adequate amounts of fluoride by brushing twice a day with a fluoride based toothpaste. However, if a patent is particularly prone to developing cavities, their dentist may give them a prescription for a special toothpaste that contains more fluoride than over-the-counter varieties.

How to safely use fluoride products

It is recommended that you avoid swallowing toothpastes and mouthwashes, and that you supervise children to ensure that they don’t ingest any. This is not just due to the fluoride; there are other ingredients in toothpastes and mouthwashes that are simply not meant to be ingested. If you should happen to accidentally swallow a small amount, there’s generally no reason to panic. You may feel a bit nauseous afterwards, but those symptoms should pass. To avoid swallowing toothpaste, use only a small amount. A pea-sized glob of toothpaste is usually more than enough, and even less is needed for children. In addition, it’s recommended that you use a toothpaste specially formulated for children for kids under 10 years of age. These toothpastes are generally milder and have a taste which is more appealing to kids.

Fluoride- containing products, when used correctly,  are safe and effective at helping to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities.