What is Fluoride and Why do we Need it?

Posted on August 21, 2023 7:00 am

It’s common knowledge that fluoride is ‘good for teeth’. However, how far do we know about the mineral and how good can it be for us?

Fluoride is a naturally-existing mineral in your bones and teeth. It can also be found in soil, plants, rocks, air, and the water we drink. It is also produced synthetically to supplement dental products like toothpaste and mouth rinses. Other uses of fluoride include PET scans, pesticides, and the making of Teflon products.

Since it was found to help prevent tooth decay, water management authorities have been adding small amounts of fluoride to the water supplies of areas that have low fluoride levels. This benefits the local population since many people can’t afford regular dental checks.

How does fluoride benefit oral health?
Your teeth contain minerals. When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth break down the sugar and carbs, producing acids that eat them away. This loss of minerals—or tooth demineralisation—weakens your enamels, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to cavities and decay.

Fluoride basically remineralises your tooth enamel, preventing cavities and reversing early signs of tooth decay—by accumulating in the damaged or demineralised areas, strengthening the enamel and forming a resistance against acids and cavities. It also provides a better environment for stronger enamel formation in the developing enamel structure of a child under the age of 7 years.

Risks and side-effects
If it’s beneficial to our oral health, why would there be risks? Fluoride is a neurotoxin, which means it can be harmful when taken in high doses. Some side-effects of fluoride are:

Dental fluorosis
This condition typically affects children under the age of 8 who are still developing permanent teeth. Using large amounts of fluoride will result in white spots on the tooth’s surface. Otherwise, this condition doesn’t cause any more symptoms or harm.

You can reduce the risks by providing them with toothpaste that contains safe levels of fluoride and supervising them to make sure they aren’t swallowing too much product.

Skeletal fluorosis
This severe but rare condition affects the bones instead of the teeth. Early symptoms are joint pain and stiffness, which can worsen to the point it alters the bone structure. Ultimately, it can cause the calcification of ligaments.

This condition is usually a result of long-term exposure to very high levels of fluoride in water. Some factors include contamination from fires and explosions or the geological location containing large deposits of fluoride which can contaminate its water supplies.

How much fluoride is enough?
Now that you’ve learnt the risks of fluoride toxicity, it’s crucial to know how much you’re incorporating it into your daily oral routine. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) sets the level at 0.7 ppm or 0.7 mg in every liter of water to prevent tooth decay.

The bottom line
Fluoride is a proven and essential mineral to prevent cavities and tooth decay. However, like with any substance, excess exposure can be harmful.

Oradex’s Periodontal Toothpaste contains safe levels of fluoride to provide you with just the right amount of enamel care and cavity prevention, plus other ingredients like hyaluronic acid and panthenol to strengthen gums. Get optimum care for your teeth today here.


Why do we Have Fluoride in our Water? | Medical News Today
What Is Fluoride, and Is It Safe? | Healthline