Fluoride toothpaste can be good for our teeth, and can lead to unpleasant consequences. How to know if you need this tool, explains dentist-orthodontist Yulia Tarasova.
Fluorine and fluorides
Almost everyone has heard that our teeth need fluoride, since it is he who protects them from caries. Moreover, fluorine is indispensable for children and helps the enamel to mature properly. At the same time, few people know (or remember from the school curriculum) that fluorine is a poisonous gas and is practically never found in its pure form. As a rule, it combines with other substances, and so-called fluorides are formed. It is they that are contained in one quantity or another in our tap water and, of course, in the toothpaste that we use daily. We get some fluoride from food.
An excess of this chemical element, as well as its insufficient amount, negatively affects the condition of the teeth. Therefore, first of all, before choosing a toothpaste, you need to understand how fluoridated the water is in your area.
If the fluoride content in the water is below normal (<0.7 mg/l), you need a fluoride toothpaste. It can be alternated with the one that contains calcium, and use them in tandem: for example, brush your teeth with fluoride paste in the morning, and with calcium in the evening.
With a normal fluorine content in water (from 0.7-1.2 mg / l), you can choose any toothpaste options at your discretion or, again, alternate them. Keep in mind also that fluorine and calcium do not work in the same toothpaste, therefore, to improve the condition of the teeth, it is necessary to use different types of pastes with active ingredients.
With an increased fluoride content (>1.2 mg/l) in tap water, there is no need for toothpastes with fluoride. In this case, fluoride-containing toothpaste is unlikely to harm an adult, which cannot be said about pregnant women and children under 14 years of age who may develop fluorosis.
Beware of fluorosis
Fluorosis is a chronic disease. It is characterized by various forms of enamel lesions: dashed, spotty, chalky-speckled, erosive, destructive. At the same time, changes in enamel can be either generalized, that is, affect all teeth, or local.
Fluorosis is most dangerous for children – as a rule, it develops when an excessive amount of fluoride enters the body of a pregnant woman or a child under 6 years of age.
Fluorosis prevention involves several steps. First, it is important to consider the amount of fluoride in the water in your area. This information is often on the Web, in the public domain. Just type in the search query: “fluoride content in water.” If it is not, it is better to do a test in a special laboratory. When fluoride levels exceed the required level, use special filters for water that goes into food and for brushing teeth. They will defluoride the water. The second point I mentioned above is to avoid fluoride toothpaste.
I note that mild degrees of fluorosis can be cured! Severe forms of fluorosis – when the teeth become yellow or brown, there are specks on the entire surface of the tooth, the enamel begins to break down, erosions appear on it, chips – are treated by installing veneers and crowns.
Specialist consultation is required.