Should You Use Fluoride or Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?

January 19, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

When it comes to fluoride vs. fluoride-free toothpaste, most people have grown up thinking they need to have fluoride in their toothpaste if they want to keep their teeth healthy and free of cavities. However, many people believe that fluoride-free toothpaste can be just as effective as toothpaste with fluoride added to it when it comes to whitening teeth and keeping up with good dental hygiene. Here are the facts to consider when deciding between fluoride vs. fluoride-free toothpaste—contact your dentist in Phoenix, AZ to learn more.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities from forming, as well as general tooth decay. The mineral can be found in some foods and water sources like lakes, rivers and even the ocean.

If people don’t get enough fluoride, they are far more likely to develop terrible cavities and even lose teeth. Because of this, most municipal water supplies in the United States are treated with additional fluoride so everyone who drinks tap water is able to get the fluoride they need to protect the health of their teeth. This process is called water fluoridation.

Fluoride is also commonly found in toothpastes, mouth rinses and even supplements. If you get an excessive number of cavities, your dentist might prescribe a more intense, prescription-strength mouth rinse with a higher concentration of fluoride than over-the-counter products.

The mineral also has non-dental uses. Fluoride is used in medical imaging scans like PET scans. It can also be found in certain cleaning products and pesticides, and is also used to make some aluminum products and non-stick Teflon surfaces in cooking pans.

Why is fluoride good for teeth?

Most people who aren’t professional dentists still know that, in order to avoid getting unsightly and painful cavities, they need to maintain proper dental hygiene, and part of that includes getting sufficient fluoride. Fluoride is beneficial because it prevents the growth of harmful oral bacteria, but it does a lot more than that.

Fluoride can actually reverse early signs of tooth decay. It slows down the loss of tooth enamel that occurs with age, and it even rebuilds or re-mineralizes weakened tooth enamel, making your teeth stronger. Teeth get demineralized by the acid that’s produced when mouth bacteria break down sugar and carbs. The acid eats away at the minerals in your tooth enamel, making them weaker. Weakened tooth enamel is a doorway to more bacteria, which can get into your teeth through and cause cavities. This is why dentists tell you not to eat candy.

Fluoride brings minerals back to your tooth enamel, building up its protective barrier and preventing cavity-causing bacteria from taking hold.

Fluoride vs. fluoride-free toothpaste

It’s obvious why fluoride is important. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average number of decaying or lost teeth in children dropped by almost 70 percent between the 1960s and the early 1990s, presumably thanks to the fluoridation of municipal water supplies and the addition of fluoride to dental products like toothpaste. The CDC recommends that people receive exposure to small amounts of fluoride on a frequent basis.

So, why would you ever choose fluoride-free when deciding between fluoride vs. fluoride-free toothpaste in Phoenix, AZ? Some people choose fluoride-free toothpaste as adults because they believe they are exposed to enough fluoride through other dental products and drinking water.

If you have questions about fluoride or want to schedule a dental appointment to see if your teeth are getting enough of this crucial mineral, schedule an appointment at Modern Smiles Family Dentistry today!

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