Fluoride – What is it and what exactly does it do?

 

FluorideYou probably associate fluoride with those bulky trays that the hygienist puts in at the end of your cleaning appointment, or maybe you’ve used fluoride rinse before. You probably know that fluoride is in most toothpastes and you may have heard that it’s in our water supply.

But what exactly is fluoride and what does it do for your teeth? Read more to find out:

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in the earth. It is present in soil, water, and almost all the foods we eat. According to Health Canada, most Canadians are exposed to fluorides on a daily basis through food and fresh water.

Fluoride prevents tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to damage caused by plaque and tartar. For this reason, fluoride is added to some drinking water supplies in order to protect Canadians from the damage caused by tooth decay. Water fluorination is the process of regularly monitoring and adjusting the fluoride levels in the water supply for public safety. Health Canada reports that approximately 37% of Canadians receive fluorinated water.

More concentrated forms of fluoride can be found in toothpaste and oral rises, which can be purchased over the counter. Your dentist can also provide you with professional fluoride products such as gels and varnish if you are suffering from forms of tooth decay or sensitive teeth.

Adults can use higher amounts of fluoride than children. It is important to consult with your dentist to determine the amount of fluorinated toothpaste to use with your child. From birth to age 3, the amount of toothpaste will depend on the level of risk of tooth decay. If your child is not at risk, they may simply need to brush with water. Children aged 3-6 years usually use a portion the size of a small pea.

For children from 3 to 6 years of age, only a small amount (a portion the size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used. Children in this age group should be assisted by an adult in brushing their teeth. Since the amount of toothpaste is delicate and children tend to swallow toothpastes, it is important to assist or supervise young children with brushing.

Hope this blog post helped to answer any questions to have about fluoride. Looking forward to helping you at your next dental appointment.

 

References 

Health Canada. Fluoride and Human Health. Obtained from: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/fluor-eng.php

Canadian Dental Association. FAQs – Fluoride. Obtained from: https://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/faqs/fluoride_faqs.asp

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