Fluoride treatment uses a natural, safe mineral to strengthen your teeth.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral, not a chemical. You can find it in rocks, soil and salt. It is also found in water, certain foods and toothpaste. It is odourless, tasteless and colourless.
In most developed countries, this mineral is added to the water supply. It is also added to milk and salt in some countries.
Which foods contain fluoride?
A lot of food and drinks contain a small amount of the mineral. These foods include vegetables, fruits, tea, wine and animal products such as meat, milk and eggs.
What is the relationship between teeth and fluoride?
Tooth enamel is the hard shell on the tooth surface. It is consists of a variety of minerals.
Every day without our knowledge we consume sugar – even if we don’t drink soft drink and eat sweets. Sugar is added in most foods to make it taste better. Sugar in our food will stick to the tooth surface, providing a growing medium for bacteria. The bacteria will produce acid, which can dissolve minerals on the tooth surface. Once the minerals are lost, the enamel surface will become soft and break, which leads to cavities.
Besides sugar, acidic foods and drinks will also dissolve the minerals from the enamel and result in holes. Sticky food sticks on teeth and forms plaque. The acids produced from the plaque dissolves the tooth surface and can result in holes.
Fluoride is important as it binds the mineral structure of the enamel and makes the enamel shell hard. This will prevent the loss of minerals from the enamel.
When you drink fluoridated tap water, the fluoride in the water will bind to your enamel and make it harder. The enamel will become more resistant, preventing tooth decay.
Dentists at Bendigo Dental recommend patients drink fluoridated tap water every day to help maintain strong, healthy teeth.
What dental products contain fluoride?
- Adult toothpaste – generally contains 1000 parts per million (ppm). Adults should brush twice a day using an adults toothpaste.
- Kids toothpaste – we recommend kids toothpaste for growing children. It contains around 300ppm. We recommend that your child brushes their teeth twice a day using a pea size amount of toothpaste. We also recommend encouraging your child to spit the toothpaste out after brushing.
- Fluoride mouthwash – contains a higher fluoride content than normal adult toothpaste. People who are at a higher risk of getting cavities can use this mouthwash.
- High fluoride concentration toothpaste – is only available only from the chemist. These kinds of toothpaste contain a higher concentration than regular mouthwash, and you need a prescription to buy this toothpaste. We recommend that only people who are at high risk of getting cavities use this toothpaste. Children should not use this toothpaste.
Facts on fluoridated water
- Fluoride in the water is safe and drinking it will help protect your teeth.
- Some water filters will remove this important mineral. Please contact the manufacturer to find out if your water filter does this.
- Rainwater or tank water contains minimal or no fluoride and rainwater is mildly acidic. If you drink tank water, we recommend taking a supplement.
- Boiling tap water won’t remove the mineral.
- Patients often ask “does fluoride cause cancer?’ The answerer is no. The fluoride used in dental treatment is safe. Most governments in the world, Health Departments and Dental Universities endorse water fluoridation.
If have any questions, please contact our dentist in Bendigo.
If a child consumes too much fluoride when their adult teeth are forming, they may get dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is also known as mottled enamel. Fluorosis appears as discolouration or spots on teeth.
Teeth affected by fluorosis are not infected. Fluorosis affected teeth will not result in cavities or dental problems. If you have concerns about your appearance as a result of fluorosis, visit our dentist. They will be able to discuss procedures to remove or cover the stains.