A natural mineral, fluoride is found in food and drinking water across the UK. The amount of fluoride present in water varies throughout the country, with some counties and towns experiencing far higher levels than others.
What are the benefits of Fluoride?
The main benefit of fluoride is its prevention of tooth decay, which can lead to infection and gum disease if not addressed. The mineral disrupts the decay process by changing the structure of developing enamel, making it more resistant to acid, and by reducing the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid, which is the cause of dental decay.
The benefits are particularly obvious within childhood, during which time teeth are still developing. In fact, studies have shown that the use of fluoride during this developmental stage will reduce the size of grooves on the teeth, making it easier to remove plaque later in life.
Where can I find it?
Fluoride occurs naturally in many foods and across the UK water supply. Research has found that a ratio of 0.7 to 1.2 parts of fluoride for every million parts of water (0.7ppm to 1.2ppm) will have the best effect on teeth, although other studies dispute this.
Some water suppliers add fluoride to water in a process called fluoridation, which has been taking place since the early 20th Century. Since its introduction, many scientists have found evidence suggesting that the process is beneficial, contributing to the reduction of decay in populations.
The mineral is also found in a number of toothpastes in varying levels. Often recommended in areas without fluoridated water, fluoride toothpaste has been found to reduce levels of decay and provide extra protection for teeth.
Can I give my children extra fluoride?
Research has suggested that children under three should use a toothpaste containing a fluorite level of at least 1000ppm, increasing to between 1350ppm and 1500ppm after three years. This should be done under parental supervision, with only a pea-sized amount used until the age of seven.
Many studies also show that children in poorer areas can have significantly higher levels of decay than those living in richer areas, where water typically contains higher levels of fluoride. These findings indicate that the addition of the mineral in similar areas may be equally beneficial and reduce the chances of decay.
Here at Synergy we can provide gels and mouthwash to both children and adults as a supplement in low fluoridated areas. Often more concentrated that traditional toothpastes, these additional product don’t require daily use.
All supplements and toothpastes should be used in the correct dosage to avoid fluorosis, a common side effect of overuse. Fluorosis commonly appears on the surface of teeth as find flecking or white lines, but severe fluorosis can lead to discolouration of the enamel.
Is fluoride safe?
There is some controversy surrounding the use of additional fluoride. In many parts of the world, including the UK and the US, it is often added to water and food as a means of preventing dental decay in the population. A number of government-issued studies have confirmed this benefit, suggesting that the mineral is a positive additional with regards to dental health.
There are a number of critics who believe that fluoride leads to a number of health conditions, although this is disputed. However, the increase in fluorosis in relation to additional fluoride has been noted across many populations.