Dentist holding toothbrush and explaining the importance of fluoride in toothpastes
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Why Look For Fluoride In Toothpaste?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

There are a few naturally occurring minerals that have a positive effect on your body. Calcium keeps your bones strong, iron delivers oxygen to your blood cells, and zinc helps your immune system function properly. Another mineral that protects your body is fluoride. Found in soil and rocks, fluoride is often added to toothpaste to improve the health of your teeth. In recent decades, fluoride in toothpaste has played a big role in reducing cavities and improving people's overall health around the world.

What Is Fluoride, And How Does It Work?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found throughout the earth's crust, reaching varying amounts in natural water sources. However, the fluoride in the environment does not protect teeth. As stated by IDA, a supplemental amount of fluoride for teeth health is added to water supplies, toothpaste, rinses, chewable tablets, etc., and is also used by dental professionals.

Fluoride is known in dentistry for its ability to reduce the risk of tooth decay. Tooth decay results from the destruction of tooth tissue from acid attacks by bacteria in dental plaque. When a person consumes sugar or other refined carbohydrates, the bacteria in the plaque build-up produce acids that attack the teeth. This causes demineralization of the tooth enamel, eventually leading to dental caries and infection.

According to various research studies, fluoride reduces cavities, stops tooth decay, and helps repair and reverse tooth decay in its early stages, even before it is visible. Fluoride works by remineralising the tooth surface, making the teeth more resistant to acid attacks from dental plaque. This helps prevent tooth decay and cavities from continuing to form. 

Why Is Fluoride In Toothpaste?

There are several ways a person can get fluoride into his or her body. One way is to drink water that contains fluoride. Another option, usually for people without access to fluoridated water or who have reasons not to drink it, is to take fluoride supplements or have a dentist or dental hygienist apply a fluoride varnish during a routine appointment. 

Drinking fluoridated water can help protect the teeth from decay, but the amount of fluoride in the water is not always sufficient for full protection. According to the Indian Dental Association, most toothpaste now contains fluoride. Fluoride toothpaste is very effective in preventing tooth decay. The amount of fluoride in toothpaste is usually enough to lessen the level of decay. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially recommends and supports the use of fluoride toothpaste around the world, particularly in areas that don't (or are unable to) fluoridate their water.

Fluoride Toothpaste Benefits

The IDA and most dentists recommend brushing with fluoride toothpaste. It can be an ideal alternative to fluoridated water. The following are the benefits of fluoride for dental health:

  • Strengthens & protects teeth against decay

  • Facilitates remineralization of teeth at the root

  • Provides support for adults taking dry-mouth medication

  • Contribute to reducing cavity risk in adults with health conditions

Is Fluoride Toothpaste Safe?

Most oral health brands today feature fluoride in toothpaste. It helps significantly reduce dental cavities, effectively combats the damaging effects of plaque, and protects your smile. Many dentists recommend brushing with fluoride toothpaste to protect teeth from decay. Using it correctly for children and adults is the key to benefiting from the use of toothpaste with fluoride. 

How To Choose A Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpaste has become a mainstay in oral hygiene because it prevents tooth decay and protects teeth from cavities. The fluoride content in toothpaste is typically sufficient to reduce decay. 

To ensure you are selecting the best toothpaste with fluoride for your dental needs, read the label carefully to check if fluoride is listed as an active ingredient. Additionally, check if the toothpaste is labelled as "anti-cavity" or "enamel-strengthening," as these typically contain fluoride. Consulting with your dentist can also help you choose the most suitable fluoridated toothpaste for your specific dental requirements.

There are many fluoridated toothpastes in the market, however it is best to consider a clinically proven antibacterial fluoridated toothpaste that fights germs. For instance, Colgate Total Advanced Health toothpaste, with Dual Zinc and Arginine technology, fights germs on teeth, tongue, cheeks, and gums for 12 hours. 

In Colgate Total Advanced Health toothpaste, the combination of dual zinc and Arginine work together to promote optimal oral health. The dual zinc, comprising zinc citrate and zinc oxide, fights bacteria, reducing plaque formation and preventing dental decay and gum disease. On the other hand, Arginine, an amino acid, complements this action by controlling the biofilm in the mouth across both hard and soft tissues. 

Unlike regular toothpaste, it addresses overall oral health needs by removing plaque and tartar while preventing cavities and bad breath. It actively targets bacteria and contains Sodium fluoride 0.76% (0.10% w/v fluoride ion) which provides anticavity protection. 

Fluoride Toothpaste Side Effects

The Indian Dental Association has documented the safety and effectiveness of appropriate levels of fluoride in preventing cavities. Using fluoride toothpaste with the IDA seal of acceptance and following the appropriate guidelines for children and adults can help enjoy benefits without worrying about side effects.

The use of appropriate fluoride concentration in water or supplements such as fluoride toothpaste is highly beneficial in protecting teeth from cavities. Although intake of excessive fluoride in drinking water or high-fluoride supplements may cause slight flecks (dental fluorosis) in children, it can be avoided by following the right usage guidelines for fluoride toothpaste and other supplements.  

Using Fluoride Toothpaste

Here are some key points about using fluoride toothpaste:

  • A pea-sized fluoridated toothpaste is recommended for daily use.

  • Brush teeth thoroughly twice a day for 2 minutes each time

  • Spit out excess toothpaste

For added protection, particularly if your dentist recommends it, you can also swish with a mouthwash that contains fluoride after brushing. Remember that brushing your teeth is just the first step to getting a healthy mouth. Minimising the number of cavity-causing foods you eat (such as candy) and seeing your dentist and dental hygienist for cleanings twice a year will both go a long way to make your teeth healthy and strong.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use fluoride toothpaste every day?

Following the proper usage guidelines on amount, brushing technique, and frequency ensures the daily use of fluoride toothpaste is safe and effective for preventing cavities without significant risks or side effects.

How should you use fluoride toothpaste?

Adults may use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Ensure adult supervision for children, and ideally, follow dentist-recommended guidelines.

Is toothpaste better with or without fluoride?

Toothpaste with fluoride is commonly available over the counter due to its effectiveness in protecting teeth from decay and cavities. Ideally, consult a dentist to find out what is best for you.

How many times should I use fluoride toothpaste?

Adults can brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day or as directed by a dentist. Dentist-recommended usage guidelines are ideal for the safest and best results.