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The 101 on Fluoride

September 22, 2022
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Fluoride is derived from the 13th most abundant element in nature, Fluorine. It naturally appears in the environment in the form of water and air. However, water is considered a vital dietary source of fluoride. In the 20th century, community water fluoridation was announced as one of the best public health achievements. Since this method was not feasible, especially in rural areas, experts like researchers and public policy makers started introducing fluoride to the general public through various methods. The various forms included adding fluoride to milk, toothpaste, and table salt.

Benefits of Fluoride

Although fluoride is typically added to foods and water, a dentist recommends that it be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated mouth rinses and toothpaste. Mouth rinses generally contain fluoride in lower concentrations. However, more substantial concentrations need a dentist’s prescription. Fluoride supplements like tablets and liquids are available in markets and must be prescribed by a dentist or pediatric dentist.

The benefits of fluoride to teeth are mentioned below,

  • It protects teeth against decay which helps to strengthen the developing enamel.
  • It slowdowns the loss of minerals and acid production of bacteria caused by plaque.
  • It protects teeth against demineralization and promotes remineralization.
  • It reverses early signs of tooth decay.
  • It prevents cavities and the growth of harmful oral bacteria.

While fluoride is a naturally occurring compound, the intake of lower or higher fluoride concentrations can take a toll on your tooth health. The intake of lower fluoride concentrations leads to several health issues, including bone cancer, arthritis, and kidney-related diseases. The intake of higher fluoride concentrations leads to health issues, namely dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis, which occur when we consume too much fluoride. Dental fluorosis is generally observed in children under the age of eight as they tend to swallow toothpaste. It occurs when a child consumes excessive fluoride during the formation of teeth under the gums, resulting in white spots on the surface of the teeth. Skeletal fluorosis occurs due to long-term exposure to excessive fluoride, primarily through drinking water and sometimes swallowing toothpaste. Various reasons for higher fluoride in water sources include naturally large geologic deposits and accidental contamination from explosions or fires. Skeletal fluorosis involves weakening bones, including symptoms like stiffness and joint pains.

Dentists are worried about people opting for fluoride-free or natural toothpaste, as they don’t prove cavity prevention and only whiten the surface of teeth. Dentists will typically always recommend toothpaste that contains fluoride for oral hygiene. However, fluoride-free toothpaste can be recommended to people in very exemptional cases. For example, the person is allergenic to fluoride or due to swallowing habits (especially in children).

How to safely use fluoride

As per the data highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is found that around 2.4 billion people globally suffer from permanent dental caries, among which 486 million are children. As per studies, dental inequalities are evident when children (living in poorer countries) consuming non-fluoridated drinking water tend to get affected with tooth decay five times more than children consuming drinking water in fluoridated areas. When researching fluoride, it is best to discuss their views on fluoride in drinking water with your dentist or family physician.

When encouraging oral hygiene habits, it is recommended to supervise the children when they brush their teeth to ensure they won’t swallow toothpaste. Using concentrated fluoride oral health products must be under the supervision or advice of a dentist or pediatric dentist for young ones to use fluoride safely.

Before receiving a fluoride treatment, you must give the dentist or pediatric dentist details of your or the child’s health history. Fluoride treatment involves the direct application of highly concentrated foam, varnish, or gel through a brush, swab, mouthwash, or tray.

Before a dental cleaning or filling treatment, be sure to discuss any concerns related to fluoride and fluoride treatments.

As recommended by dentists, people need to use toothpaste that receives a seal of acceptance, like the ADA seal of acceptance in the United States. Children under the age of two are recommended to use not more than a grain-of-rice-sized amount of toothpaste.

To protect your enamel, please follow the recommended tips mentioned below:

  • Avoid eating drinks and acidic foods.
  • Eat lots of veggies, fruits, and dairy products
  • Don’t overbrush and avoid grinding your teeth
  • Go for regular dental check-ups
  • Avoid swimming in chlorinated pools


Have more questions on fluoride? Contact Ashraf Dentistry today!

Ready when you are

Lamine Diallo
Lamine Diallo
02:21 15 Jun 22
My family and I have been receiving care from Dr. Ashraf and his amazing team since we first moved to Waterloo in 2002. His assessment skills are spot on, he is gentle and is very skilled at working with anxious\nervous patients. My dental hygienist is Lin who is very knowledgeable, and passionate about her work. She is amazingly gentle yet very,very thorough when it comes to preventative dental care. She is didactic as well, taking the time to teach patients how to use certain equipment as well as addressing gingivitis in pro-active ways. We are in very capable hands.
Trisa Kapetaneas
Trisa Kapetaneas
18:12 01 Jun 22
I have been a patient here for over 2 years now and I've always enjoyed the experience. The staff are professional and have always made me feel comfortable. I recently had a cleaning done by Lynn for the first time and she was amazing! Will continue to visit for my checkups/cleanings.
Aamir Mirza
Aamir Mirza
14:54 03 May 22
Dr. Ashraf and his team is amazing. All work done under one umbrella for entire family. We all are very happy to be under the care for the last 20 plus years. Lin, dental hygienist is remarkable professional. She knows her job so well that I look forward to my cleaning every time I'm scheduled. Thank you Lin for your amazing work for my entire family!
Alena Delena
Alena Delena
14:50 02 May 22
My family loves Dr Ashraf. We've been through many dentists in many cities and he's by far our favourite one. He's always thorough and professional. His referrals are also of equal high caliber. I went to him for a root canal and a crown. I had many concerns and he addressed them all personally. He even went so far as to redo a root canal for me. Recommend.
Nicole Wood
Nicole Wood
15:31 28 Apr 22
I found Ashraf Dentistry a year ago and I absolutely love their dental clinic. Everyone is very kind and thorough. Lin is the best dental hygienist I've ever had! She takes the time to ensure I receive the care I need. Both dentists I've seen have also been very kind and wonderful at making me feel like my teeth are being taken care of. Highly recommend!
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