Parents are fearing fluoridated toothpaste at an increasing rate. I am commonly asked about fluoride safety. I also encounter many parents who note that they don't agree with their child using fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride consumption is one of the most contentious topics in all of Pediatric Dentistry. In this blog post I would like to provide facts about fluoride and fluoride safety. I would also like to propose strategies for use of fluoride while minimizing related fears. Before I begin, I would like to say that I respect everybody's opinion and the article is not meant to pressure or convince anybody with respect to fluoride use.
There are some very useful supplementary articles on fluoride provided by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA). You can access the here.
So, what does fluoride do for teeth anyway? It plays a few key roles in the mouth:
There is currently no research to prove that fluoridated toothpaste and community-fluoridated water has adverse health effects. The only documented effect is "fluorosis" which occurs when too much fluoride is ingested during early childhood. Fluorosis causes white spots on teeth. This is merely an esthetic change to the teeth. Importantly, fluorosis does not affect tooth quality or function.
Fluoride has a very high therapeutic index. This means that it takes only very small amounts to have massive benefits to teeth while much larger concentrations may cause fluorosis. Simply put, there is tons of "buffer" or "safety" room with administering fluoride.
I have seen Dentists lecture parents about fluoride. If somebody has a belief against (or fear of) doing something, a rigid explanation almost never works. One thing that I find very helpful is to work with parents on a compromise. Sometimes they still go against my recommendation - I respect it and we keep on being pals. Below are some common parent concerns and my suggestions for minimizing fears about your child's fluoride intake:
I have seen Dentists lecture parents about fluoride. If somebody has a belief against (or fear of) doing something, a rigid explanation almost never works. One thing that I find very helpful is to work with my patients and work with parents on a compromise. Sometimes they still go against my recommendation - I respect it and we keep on being pals. Here are some suggestions for minimizing fears about your child's fluoride intake:
Hydroxyapatite (high-drox-ee-ap-ah-tight) toothpaste helps to remineralize or strengthen your teeth. In fact, Hydroxyapatite is the main building block for both enamel and dentin (the 2 hard layers over your nerve)! Proponents of these toothpastes point out that they strengthen your teeth while not exerting a negative effect on the bacteria in your mouth (much of which is good bacteria).
Hydroxyapatite toothpastes have not been shown to have any negative health effects and may provide a suitable alternative for families would prefer to avoid Fluoride.
If you have concerns about whether fluoride is safe for your child, or about how much exposure is safe, have a chat with your Kitchener Family Dentist.
If you would like to have a consult with Dr. Kyle Hornby regarding your child's oral health, please feel free to request a consult here.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a dental condition or treatment.