The Benefits of Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that has become a vital part of our oral care routines here in the UK. It is added to toothpastes, mouthwashes, and even drinking water1 to help protect our dental health every day, without us having to add any extra steps into our daily lives.
So, is fluoride good for your teeth? What does it do for our mouths, and most importantly, is fluoride toothpaste safe? Find out everything you need to know here with Aquafresh.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that can be naturally found in our water supply in the UK, though the amount varies in different parts of the country.
It is added to oral care products as it helps prevent against tooth decay. For the same reason, drinking water is sometimes fortified with extra fluoride – a process known as fluoridation.1
The benefits of fluoride are proven by longitudinal studies: research into water fluoridation for over 60 years has shown to reduce tooth decay by 40-60%.2
How Fluoride Helps Prevent Tooth Decay
Water fluoridation is an important tool in combatting tooth decay, especially in children. In the UK, it’s a leading cause of children’s hospital admissions, despite being easily prevented with a good oral care routine.1
Children exposed to fluoride when their teeth are developing, e.g. through using a kids’ fluoride toothpaste, are found to have shallower grooves in their teeth, which helps with easier plaque removal.2 Plaque can form a hard substance called tartar if it’s not removed with twice-daily brushing, and tartar build-up can eventually cause tooth decay by eating into tooth enamel.
Therefore, it’s a great idea to start using fluoride toothpaste from the moment your children’s first teeth come through. Choose a toothpaste formulated especially for kids, with age-appropriate fluoride levels, as adult toothpaste can contain too much fluoride and taste too strong to small children.1
How Much Fluoride Can Children Have?
The recommended amounts of fluoride in toothpaste for kids and adults are:1
- 0-2 years: toothpaste should contain at least 1,000ppm fluoride – like Aquafresh Milk Teeth Toothpaste
- 3-5 years: toothpaste should contain more than 1,000ppm fluoride – like Aquafresh Little Teeth Toothpaste
- 6+ years: toothpaste should contain 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride – like Aquafresh Big Teeth Toothpaste
- Adults: toothpaste should contain 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride – like Aquafresh Complete Care Toothpaste
The whole Aquafresh range complies with the recommended fluoride levels per product per age. Check out the full range today to find products that protect your family’s dental health.
Other Fluoride Oral Care Products
Besides brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, using a fluoride mouthwash can also help your family to keep their teeth strong and healthy. Aquafresh offers three types of mouthwash. Find out how to use them below:
- Aquafresh Big Teeth Mouthwash: for kids aged 6-8. Comes in strawberry fruit flavour. Measure 10ml into the cap, and swish around the mouth for up to 1 minute before spitting out – do not swallow. Do this twice a day. Always follow the label directions.
- Aquafresh Complete Care Mouthwash and Aquafresh Intense Clean Mouthwash: for adults and kids aged 6+. Measure the correct amount using the cap and package instructions. Swish around the mouth for up to 1 minute before spitting out – do not swallow. Do this twice a day. Always follow the label directions.
Alongside products you can use at home, your dentist can also provide fluoride treatments if you or your child are at greater risk of or already have tooth decay.
To help prevent tooth decay, a fluoride varnish can be applied by a dentist to both milk teeth and adult teeth. The varnish contains a high level of fluoride and should be applied twice a year. It may be applied 3 times a year for those who already have tooth decay or are at greater risk of developing it.1
Fluoride rinses can be prescribed to adults and kids aged 8+ who have tooth decay. They are for every day use alongside twice daily brushing with a toothpaste that contains a minimum of 1,350ppm fluoride.1
Fluoride Oral Care FAQs
Is fluoride toothpaste safe?
Toothpastes you can get from supermarkets and pharmacies in the UK contain age-appropriate amounts of fluoride.
In the past there have been concerns that fluoride could be linked to some health conditions, but studies and reviews into these links have found no evidence to support the claims.1
There is a risk that overexposure to fluoride can cause dental fluorosis in children’s teeth. Signs of mild fluorosis include fine white lines or flecks on a tooth’s surface. If it progresses, it can cause pitting and discolouration to the tooth enamel. However, fluorosis is a rare problem in the UK, as trusted dental care brands contain age-appropriate amounts of fluoride and levels of the mineral in water supplies is monitored by a body called the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) – if levels of fluoride become too high, they are adjusted.1
How does fluoride protect teeth?
Fluoride acts topically, affecting the tooth’s surface to protect it from decay. It helps prevent bacteria from producing acid in the mouth that attacks tooth enamel, and it aids in strengthening enamel that may be affected by the early stages of decay. So, it can act as both a preventative and a treatment for early tooth decay.3
Do I need to drink fluoridated water if I use fluoride toothpaste?
Evidence shows that water fluoridation has added benefits, even if we use oral care products that also contain the mineral. Studies have shown that children who grow up drinking fluoridated water alongside using fluoride toothpaste and other fluoride products and treatments were less likely to be affected by tooth decay than those who used fluoride oral care products but did not have access to fluoridated water.3
Adults also benefit from water fluoridation as well as using dental products containing fluoride. Studies show that adults who have had access to fluoridated water throughout their lives have 30-50% fewer teeth affected by decay than people who haven’t had the same access. This shows that people who drink fluoridated water for most of their lives are more likely to keep their natural teeth as they age.3