Guest post by Les Szabo from BioMinToothpaste
It is amazing that tooth decay is still Australia’s most prevalent disease, and one of the most preventable. We know we should brush our teeth, but which toothpaste should we be using, fluoride, low fluoride or fluoride free?
Demineralisation and Remineralisation.
The tooth’s outer protective layer is called the enamel. Acids (acidic foods and sugars converted to acid by oral bacteria) dissolve the enamel, in a process called “demineralisation”. Fortunately, there is a natural process called “remineralisation” which re-deposits these minerals. If demineralisation is greater than remineralisation decay occurs and ultimately cavities form.
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What does fluoride do?
Fluoride strengthens the enamel by making the tooth more acid resistant. It also helps increase the speed of the remineralisation process.
Does fluoride work?
Unequivocally yes. It is one of the most studied minerals we use, working both as an additive to our drinking water and our toothpaste.
Is fluoride dangerous?
Professional and government consensus says the benefits outweigh the risks. There is risk of fluorosis (white mottling of adult teeth) which can occur from too much fluoride ingested during adult teeth formative years. A reduction in fluoride reduces the risk of fluorosis.
Diet is the first step
Good dental care starts with a good diet, avoiding processed sugars and acidic foods helps stop the demineralisation process. Calcium-rich food such as milk helps provide the building blocks to help remineralise the tooth.
Should we and our kids use a fluoridated toothpaste?
Ultimately the decision to use or not to is up to the individual: low fluoride or fluoride-free.
The ADA (Australian Dental Association) recommends the following fluoride levels in toothpaste:
- Eruption to 17mth teeth should be cleaned but without toothpaste, unless decay risk is high.
- 18 mth to 5 yrs, cleaned twice per day with the toothpaste containing 500 – 550 ppm fluoridated toothpaste. Children should NOT swallow but spit out and not rinse.
- For ages 6+ twice or more frequently per day, using 1,000-1500 ppm fluoridated toothpaste. Do NOT swallow but spit out and not rinse.
The increase in fluoride content increases the time fluoride is therapeutically beneficial. Regular adult toothpaste approx. 2 hrs.
Low fluoride toothpaste
Parents interested in reducing their fluoride content by up to 60% (530 ppm) but still want the benefits that fluoride brings may be interested in a new class of toothpaste called BioMin F. BioMin F fights decay by remineralising faster and up to 6X longer than regular and even many high fluoride toothpaste. (Ages 6 + or as advised by dentists)
Fluoride-free toothpaste has become popular in recent years, though not generally recommended or supported by the dental fraternity. Fluoride-free BioMin C is changing this, with scientific testing demonstrating its ability to fight early decay by driving the remineralisation process. (Note fluoridated toothpaste benefit from improved acid resistance).
With low fluoride toothpaste now able to outperform regular toothpaste the choice is really between low fluoride and fluoride-free, scientifically low fluoride toothpaste are superior but for some avoiding added fluoride is the only choice.