Fluoride Pros and Cons

*This article is intended for people over the age of 4 years old as fluoride prior is not recommended as the teeth are still forming and growing into the child as well as younger children may not know how to spit out toothpaste properly.

Over the last decade or two I feel like I am constantly being told that fluoride is bad and horrible for you. We have been routinely bombarded by how bad it is for us. Friends and family probably have promoted you to stay away from toothpaste that contains fluoride and to stop drinking tap water because it’s filled with the toxic substance. The fluoride fear mongering needs to stop; you need to know the truth and the importance of fluoride…yes there are cons but the pros outweigh these cons tremendously.

What are the cons of fluoride?

The cons of fluoride are just a few to list and these cons are unlikely to occur unless you are eating tubes of toothpaste routinely. No tap water does not contain enough fluoride to be toxic.   Fluorosis is one of the cons but it really takes a huge amount of effort for this to happen but fluorosis causes the teeth to be discolored like a tint of yellow or like coffee stain colors. The reason for these recommendations is because when too much fluoride is ingested, it is toxic. Excess fluoride ingestion is linked to dental fluorosis, a condition that causes tooth enamel to become discolored and which when present can indicate that the rest of your body has been overexposed to fluoride as well.  Fluoride toothpaste contains more than double the amount of fluoride than mouthwash and toothpaste contains roughly 1000 times more than tap water.  So tap water being overly littered with fluoride is a lie – toothpaste has 1000 times more.  The cons of fluoride are cosmetic which is fluorosis and possibly toxic but you can read other conspiracy theories online about those.

Is it OK to use fluoride free toothpaste?

In general, dentists dissuade patients from using fluoride free toothpaste due to the mineral’s effects on long-term tooth health. Fluoride free toothpaste has no benefit against cavities or tooth decay.  If you are going to use fluoride free toothpaste, well you might as well not use toothpaste at all.  Toothpaste is not technically required for the brushing process but the only benefit for fluoride free toothpaste for adults is fresh breath.

What happens if you stop using fluoride? 

Many studies warn that in the absence of optimal fluoride levels in drinking water and saliva, teeth may develop with thinner enamel and a reduced ability to remineralize early symptoms of decay. So if you tend to drink water without fluoride, it is key to use toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride deficiency shows from the main signs of cavities and weak bones. Cavities. The first sign of fluoride deficiency is usually cavities. This is because a lack of fluoride can cause your enamel to become weak and prone to decay.

What are the pros of using fluoride?

In short…prevents tooth decay, strengthens enamel, and prevents cavities and tooth loss. Yes it really is a necessary ingredient for perfect dental care unlike all the news you hear about it being the devil’s compound. 

Does fluoride harden tooth enamel?

The nature of fluoride protects and guards our teeth from fights with acid  caused by plaque and bacteria and sugars in the mouth. When fluoride is in or on the teeth, fluoride hardens the enamel like an extra coat or wall of protection, making it resistant to demineralization, which is the leading cause of tooth decay and cavities.

What is better to have fluoride in toothpaste or mouthwash?

Although many dentists say avoid using mouthwash after brushing but rather focus on using mouthwash in different parts of your day in which you aren’t brushing.  Commonly many mouthwashes have limited amounts of fluoride because many of them are gum disease mouthwashes are not cavity-preventable mouthwashes.  Most fluoride toothpastes contain around 1450ppm of fluoride, whereas mouthwash only contains about 450ppm, which isn’t enough to fight plaque.  It is important to use both fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash in the end but one approach is get both types of mouthwash cavity prevention and gum disease and rotate which one you use weekly or daily. The sole purpose of fluoride is to strengthen the enamel of the teeth, which should (so research has shown) prevent cavities and tooth loss. This assumption has been called into question over time.

Does fluoride help gums? The Benefits of Fluoride for Oral Health

Fluoride Kills bacteria which cause cavities & gum disease – Fluoride doesn’t just help prevent cavities…it stops them. It’s also antimicrobial, which means it can kill the bacteria in your mouth which contributes to issues like cavities and gum disease. Yes, fluoride helps prevent tooth decay – in fact, since 1950 the American Dental Association has backed fluoride as “safe, effective and necessary in preventing tooth decay”. By strengthening enamel and slowing its breakdown, fluoride limits the ability for plaque and bacteria to go to work on your teeth.