The low down on Fluoride – why it’s so important

Ongoing studies continue to prove that fluoride is extremely effective in preventing and reducing dental decay, particularly in young children. Even with water fluoridation, dental decay is one of today’s most common childhood diseases. The pain, lost school hours and expense at the dentist is something most families could do without.


Some of the most common questions we get asked about fluoride are:


Where do we find Fluoride?fluoride-items

  • In our tap water
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash and dental rinses
  • Dental fluoride pastes, foams and gels
  • Tablet or lozenge supplements
  • Professional fluoride treatments at the dentist

I use a water filter. Will the fluoride still be in the water?

Most common home water filters will not remove the fluoride from your tap water. However, a small number will remove some of the fluoride so it is best to check with the manufacturer of your water filter product to check.

Does boiling water damage or remove the fluoride?

No. Boiling your water will not affect the fluoride.

Is Fluoride an artificial chemical?

No! Fluoride is totally natural.


Can we have too much Fluoride?

Children can ingest too much if they do not use a specific children’s toothpaste, with a lower fluoride content. This is because young kids, who have not yet learnt to spit effectively after brushing, tend to swallow a lot of toothpaste. Only a pea sized amount of paste should be used. Once you are confident they are spitting out all the toothpaste then they can move onto adult toothpaste, however it is still important to only use a pea sized amount.

It is important to note that too much fluoride may result in a condition known as fluorosis. Since the condition generally occurs amongst children, it is a good idea to monitor the fluoride intake of smaller children.


I’m nervous about giving Fluoride to child-brushingmy children

Fluoride is beneficial for children. Infants are most susceptible to tooth decay during their teething period around 6 months of age. Similarly, children around 6 years old whose milk teeth are giving way to permanent teeth are also at risk. Recent studies have found that adults can benefit from additional fluoride boost treatments, particularly those with gum disease, dry mouth conditions and a history of cavities.

The twice daily routine of using a fluoride toothpaste both on the brush and in-between teeth helps reverse enamel breakdown and the initial decay process.


What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in the earth’s crust and in all water supplies. Its benefits in the prevention – and even reversal – of early decay are well documented and endorsed by the Australian Dental Association.


Fluoride vs enamel eroding acids

The acids from the sugars in the foods we consume are constantly eroding the minerals from our teeth enamel. Tooth decay results when the amount of lost minerals exceeds that which is being replenished. Fluoride intake replaces the lost minerals in the tooth’s enamel as a great preventative measure against the effects of the acid. That is also the primary reason why many countries have added fluoride to the public water sources. Indeed, the cavity-prevention benefits of fluoride remain intact even if only very small amounts of the mineral are added to our drinking water.


Water Fluoridation

As early as the 1930s, American scientists recognised the advantages of water fluoridation, noting how people living in areas with higher levels of fluoride in the water report less incidences of tooth decay, compared to those living in areas where the fluoride levels were much lower. Other research carried out since those early days of water fluoridation, including recent surveys, have all produced similar conclusions. Over the years, the global scientific and health communities have almost been unanimous in their support for fluoridation.

Professional Fluoride treatments


Given the widespread use and availability of fluoride, some may ask whether it is necessary to get a professional fluoride treatment. In reality, particularly given today’s high sugar diet, you may still be susceptible to certain oral ailments even if you have a regular fluoride intake. This is especially true for infants and young children. Those who will benefit from regular professionally applied fluoride treatments include people with:


  • Fillings
  • caps (crowns)
  • plaque build-up in hard-to-reach places (which is most people!)
  • bleeding gums
  • who don’t floss daily
  • older kids (because most kids don’t clean their teeth very well even if they try)


Fluoride as part of your dental health program

The benefits of fluoride are considerable in keeping teeth healthy. Of course, you still need to brush and floss/Pikster twice a day, maintain a healthy and balanced diet, and visit your dentist every 6 months.


Ask us about your fluoride options when you next visit. Your regular dentist, who knows you and your teeth/oral health well, is in the best position to ascertain your situation and determine whether fluoride supplements or treatments will benefit you.


Contact us at Fresh Dentistry at our family friendly Blackburn dental clinic on (03) 9878 8712 or send us an email enquiry at [email protected].