Medically Reviewed
by Dental District
Medically Reviewed by Jilian Lopiano

What is dental fluoride? All you need to know

You have probably heard more than once that fluoride is essential for the good health of your teeth. Likewise, it is likely that you have heard that fluoride is harmful and that it carries risks that cast doubt on the benefits that you previously knew. For all of the above, in this new blog post from The Dental District we will answer your questions and tell you everything you need to know about dental fluoride.

What is fluorine?

Fluorine or fluoride is a mineral found naturally in soil and water, from where it is obtained and given a chemical treatment for use in dental applications, where it is found in the form of varnish or gel, and is also Part of many toothpastes and mouthwashes.

In recent decades, numerous investigations have been carried out on fluoride and its impact on dental health. It has been proven that this mineral strengthens the hard external surface of the tooth called enamel, making it more resistant to bacteria that cause cavities.

In dental offices (and even in public health programs) it is common to apply fluoride varnish or gel to the teeth of children as young as 6 months of age to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. And it is applied periodically until around the age of 5, when the child already learns to spit out toothpaste correctly he could use one with fluoride.

Fluoride toothpastes are beneficial for adults throughout their lives. At the beginning of the 20th century, the relationship between fluoride and dental care was established. Studies from the time showed that people with decayed teeth had lower fluoride content than people with healthy teeth. They also found that the incidence of caries was lower in children who consumed naturally fluoridated water, compared to children in places with low fluoride water.

So why is fluoride said to be toxic?

The most recent studies have analyzed the toxicity due to the accumulation of fluorides in prolonged exposure, which can cause damage to the organs and tissues of the human body. However, the alteration called dental fluorosis occurs when drinking water with a concentration greater than 2 milligrams per liter.

In general, toothpastes contain 1,500 milligrams per kilo. Meaning, it is used in minimal quantities, and the authorities of the Ministry of Health and the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (PROFECO) constantly supervise the toothpastes content.

dental fluoride in children

Fluorine action mode

Having clarified the topic of fluoride toxicity, we can talk about its double mechanism of action: it transforms the hydroxyapatite of the enamel (biological material formed by calcium phosphate) into fluorapatite, a substance that is more resistant to decalcification. This means that the teeth are strengthened.

On the other hand, fluoride inhibits the bacterial glycolysis reactions of dental plaque by reducing the formation of acetic and butyric acid. In other words, it is a mechanism that prevents plaque from forming a film on the teeth and eroding them until they become cavities.

Should I use a fluoridated toothpaste?

Preferably yes. In both children and adults, this is the most appropriate method because it is low cost, daily use and highly effective. Mouthwashes can also be used, except in children whose swallowing reflex has not yet been controlled.

At what age is it important to start with the application of fluoride?

  • From 0 to 2 years. Children’s teeth are susceptible to staining due to situations such as breastfeeding, the use of a bottle, inadequate hygiene as a result of a wrong technique on behalf of the parents. For this reason, it is essential to take children to the dentist from early childhood.
  • 3 to 6 years. Little kid´s teeth go through a period of calcification and maturation, and they have a high risk of caries in the premolars, second molars and posterior teeth, especially if they do not have a correct hygiene and brushing technique.
  • 7 to 12 years. Milk or primary teeth usually start loosening around by the age of six. The milk teeth decay period and eruption of permanent teeth is key to oral health, and children can receive fluoride to prevent cavities in their permanent teeth.

We hope that this information has answered all your questions about dental fluoride and its importance in your oral health as well as of your children. If you are looking for a place to take your little ones for a fluoride application, at The Dental District Clinic you will find the dental specialists you need. Schedule your appointment through our contact form where we will gladly assist you!

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