With all the health products on the market today, claiming their efficiency and foundation as essential in our health journey, sometimes the old saying comes to mind: “too much of any one thing isn’t good for you.” Does this hold true for toothpaste? If you were to sit down and think through all the products you use on a daily basis, ones that are there to help you and take care of you in some way, toothpaste would be one item at the top of that list. According to research, a staggering 20 billion tubes of toothpaste are manufactured each year. Which ones are best? Fluoride or fluoride free? Can toothpaste harm you? These are popular questions that are asked often to dental professionals. Let’s take a look at toothpaste and hear from a dental professional on this topic.
You can’t hear the term “toothpaste” without hearing about fluoride. What exactly is fluoride? It is a natural mineral that can be found in water, soil, rocks, and different foods. We are constantly hearing about how important fluoride is to children for the development of healthy teeth and it’s importance in protecting teeth from acid and bacteria in plaque, important to adults and children alike. Most people are aware it’s also added to our drinking water, where research states that fact alone has helped to reduce tooth decay by up to as much as 25%. Fluoride promotes a process known as demineralization, where phosphate ions and calcium help create a new protective surface to the teeth that is acid resistant, protecting teeth from erosion and harmful bacteria. The fluoride in toothpaste is also supposed to support this process.
Fluoride does have great benefits, but like most things, too much of it can be harmful to you. Dental Fluorosis is a condition that is caused by consuming too much fluoride. Dental fluorosis causes the tooth enamel to change color, sometimes appearing as brown or white spots, and can happen when children swallow too much toothpaste instead of spitting it out. These are important steps for parents of young children to follow to help prevent situations like dental fluorosis and other situations that might be harmful:
When concerns about fluoride arise, the topic of dry brushing (brushing without any toothpastes or tooth gels) comes into question. Is it really ok to dry brush your teeth? Research shows that it is perfectly safe and still beneficial to dry brush. The bristles of your toothbrush are the catalyst that does the work in the fight against plaque, not the paste you put on the bristles. Brushing your teeth properly is your strongest weapon in the war against plaque and tooth decay.
I took my questions about toothpaste to Noelle Copeland, registered dental hygienist and oral care specialist for Brilliant Oral Care. Here is her wisdom that she graciously shared, in her own words:
Research And Ask Questions!
Thanks to the internet, researching is right at the touch of your finger tips. I recommend that you do your own research and read as much as you can on important health topics like toothpaste. You may come away with more questions than answers sometimes, but educating yourself on what’s best for you and your family is always time well spent. Most importantly, ask questions to your dentist and dental professionals that you know. Their education and experience is an invaluable tool as you seek to take care of your oral health and the oral health for your family and loved ones.
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