Fluoride, 5 truths and 1 myth
According to the World Health Organization, access to fluoride is an inalienable right to oral health protection and is considered one of the most important public health discoveries (FDI, IADR, WHO 2006: Global consultation on oral health through fluoride).
- What is fluoride and how does it protect teeth from caries?
Fluoride is a trace element that is diffuse in nature, such as in water and rocks. Fluoride is the leading cause of decay decrease in humans in the 20th century.
Fluoride contributes significantly to the formation of healthy teeth.
– Reduces the dissolution of calcium from the teeth
– Increases the absorption of calcium by the teeth
– Reduces the multiplication of germs
It makes the teeth harder and therefore more resistant to acids, which contribute to the development of caries.
- How do we get fluoride daily?
Toothpaste is the best way to prevent tooth decay, as it provides fluoride to the teeth daily. This ensures the constant presence of fluoride in low concentration in saliva. The mouthwash enhances the action of fluoride toothpaste and increases protection against tooth decay. The use of fluoride disks is very effective in high-risk children.
- How do we get fluoride in the doctor’s office?
Fluoride treatment is the topical application of fluoride in the form of gel or varnish, which is applied by a dentist. The fluoride is absorbed by the teeth and released daily, while reacting chemically with calcium, creating calcium fluoride, which is incorporated into the teeth and makes their surface harder. Fluoride treatment at regular intervals (every 3-6 months depending on the patient’s risk of developing caries), reduces caries to 35-45%.
- Who are the candidates for fluoride treatment in the dental clinic?
- All infants and preschoolers to create strong teeth
- Children or adolescents with active caries or signs of caries risk
- Children or adolescents with white spots that indicate calcium loss from the teeth
- Children with orthodontic appliances
- People with dental hypersensitivity
Fluoridation is indicated to begin in infancy and end between 18-20 years of age.
- How do we avoid overdose?
- Use the right dose of toothpaste, depending on your age and needs
- Supervise children when brushing their teeth, up to the age of 8 years
- Avoid using mouthwashes before the age of 6-7, until the child is able to spit and not swallow
- Do not prepare all your baby’s milk with fluoridated water. Find out the correct quantities for your baby’s age
Note: The dentist, depending on the child’s risk of developing caries, can adjust the dose of toothpaste and its fluoride content.
Fluoride is toxic. Is it?
Fluoride is not toxic at all when used topically, through toothpaste, fluoride treatment in the office or the use of mouthwashes. Also, fluoride is non-toxic when used in the right dose systemically, i.e. when swallowed with water.
Fluorosis is the only scientifically proven side effect of fluoride overconsumption. Fluorosis can occur when fluoride is ingested on a daily basis in amounts twice the permissible limit, at the age of less than 8 years and occurs as damage to the enamel of permanent teeth. Fluorosis is more common in countries where the water is fluoridated. In Cyprus the water is not fluoridated, so the possibility of Fluorosis is almost non-existent.
Other side effects reported can only be caused by huge doses of fluoride (8 times more), which is unrealistic in everyday life.