Fluoride is a mineral commonly used in dentistry to prevent cavities, build strong teeth, and strengthen the enamel. The enamel is the outer layer of the teeth, and it helps fight against the bacteria that form on gum tissues and teeth. Read on to learn more about fluoride for teeth.
Is Fluoride Bad for Your Teeth?
Fluoride benefits both child and adult teeth. Children are less likely to develop cavities if they treat their teeth with fluoride early on. Fluoride for teeth is helpful to slow down the growth of oral bacteria and protects your mouth in two ways:
- It stimulates the enamel remineralization process to strengthen your teeth and redeposits minerals, like calcium, back onto your teeth to help prevent tooth decay
- It controls the acid inside your mouth to help resist acid attacks by bacteria and sugar from foods
By brushing your teeth two times a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, you can meet the fluoride needs of your enamel.
The Pros and Cons of Fluoride Toothpaste
- Prevent cavities
- Prevent early stages of tooth decay
- Strengthen exposed roots and weak spots
Like other medications, too much intake of fluoride can cause negative complications including:
- Weak bones
- Mature teeth containing white specks
- Pitting and staining on teeth
- Bone homeostasis problems
How Much Fluoride Is Safe for Teeth?
Fluoride treatment is recommended every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on your oral health. Your dentist may prescribe a fluoride gel or rinse for regular home application if you are more susceptible to developing cavities. Children under the age of 6 are recommended to use a “pea size” amount of fluoride toothpaste.
The recommended intake of fluoride for children and adults include:
Up to 3 years of age - 0.1 to 1.5 milligrams
4 to 6 years of age - 1 to 2.5 milligrams
7 to 10 years of age – 1.5 to 2.5 milligrams
Adolescents and adults - 1.5 to 4 milligrams
How Does Fluoride Affect Children?
- White spots or lines on teeth
- Brown or gray discoloration on enamel in severe cases
Kids usually develop dental fluorosis when they swallow toothpaste containing fluoride. Therefore, parents should supervise their kids when they are brushing to ensure they are spitting out the toothpaste.
Fluoride for teeth is both preventative and restorative effects against dental cavities. When ingested in appropriate quantities, this mineral speeds up the process of re-mineralization and obstructs demineralization.