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30th July 2015

Fluoride

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring chemical found in water, soil and food. It is also an active and protective chemical found in toothpaste. In the dental world, Fluoride is very much loved as it helps protect your teeth in two ways:

 

  • It can combine with the enamel on your tooth making it stronger and less prone to tooth decay and acid erosion
  • It disrupts the bacteria that cause tooth decay

Tooth decay is a major health concern worldwide as well as the UK. It is one of the most common causes of hospital admission in children. Whilst levels have reduced in the last 30 years it still remains a common disease affecting everyone.

Where does Fluoride come from?

Fluoride can be found in tap water and foods. It is also found in most dental products from toothpastes to mouthrinses. The concentration of Fluoride varies greatly. In tap water it can be very low at around 0.3 ppm (parts per million) or in some regions actively added at the water treatment plants to make it 1 ppm. In mouthrinses the concentration can reach 225ppm while in toothpastes it varies from 600-5000ppm.

How can it benefit me?

Numerous studies have shown over the years that Fluoride applied to your teeth will protect you from decay, thus saving you money and the pain of having fillings or other dental treatments. The Fluoride works best when applied topically to the teeth, ie the tooth surface will absorb a small quantity of it so if the teeth are coated in the chemical regularly this will protect it. If excess quantities are ingestion at a young age, it can cause white tooth stains to develop within the teeth. These cannot be removed so getting the balance is crucial.

The recommended amount for adults is a regular fluoridated toothpaste (1450ppm F as it is written on the tube) to be used for two minutes twice daily. Once you have finished brushing, the excess paste should be spat out but not rinsed off as this will continue to protect your teeth.

Children have a lower recommended dose depending on their age. If you are at a higher risk of tooth decay your dentist may recommend that you use stronger toothpaste. This might be prescribed to you. High risk could be because you have dry mouth, on specific medications or under cancer treatments.

What treatments are on offer?

As well as toothpastes and mouthrinses there are other ways to coat the teeth. This is using strong Fluoride varnishes. We are pleased to inform you that this is available at our practice. Each foil packed individual pouch contains an individual sterile dose of clear transparent Fluoride paste. This is a high dose of 22,600 ppm Fluoride will help reduce decay and desensitize your teeth in a matter of minutes. Both hygienists and dentists can apply this paste with results lasting up to 6 months.

Investing in regular varnish applications can considerably reduce your chances of developing tooth decay. So next time you are in for your hygiene treatment feel free to ask our team how we can protect your teeth and smile.

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