Are Fluoride Toothpastes Harmful?
Did you know that more than 95 percent of all toothpaste sold contain fluoride? The use of fluoridated toothpaste is one of the main reasons for the low incidence of dental caries in industrialized countries.
Fluoride is essential for the body because it helps the teeth build enamel, the hardest substance in the body. This in turn protects against dental caries. Lack of fluoride can cause dental caries and possibly osteoporosis. But an excess of fluoride is not also good because it can cause fluorosis or 'mottling' of the teeth. It also causes bone deformities such as 'skeletal fluorosis'.
Who is at risk for fluorosis?
Some regions are fluorine-deficient, and other have it in excess, especially where the aquifers are very deep. In places where there is no fluoride in the water, it is added artificially. Where there is sufficient fluorine in the water, it is not required. So fluoridated toothpaste is not harmful to the body except where there is already too much fluorine in the water.
Toothpaste is sweet, so some children might eat toothpaste. There is a chance that these children may suffer from fluorosis if there is already too much fluoride in the water they drink.
Categories of fluorosis
There are several categories of fluorosis. If you notice yours or your family members' teeth is showing these signs, stop using fluoridated toothpaste immediately and consult a dentist. The categories are
- Questionable – The enamel is showing some white flecks or white spots.
- Very mild – The tooth is showing opaque areas (paper white) over at least 25 percent of the tooth.
- Mild – The opaque white areas have become more extensive, but it is still less than 50 percent of the enamel.
- Moderate - The while opaque areas are spread over 50 percent of the tooth.
- Severe – The enamel is severely affected. The teeth also show pitting.
It should be noted that fluoride does not make the teeth cleaner. It just makes the enamel harder and reduces the risk of caries. This means the benefits of using fluoridated toothpaste far outweigh the risks.
For more information about fluoridated toothpaste, contact Park Ave Pediatric Dentistry. We are located on Fifth Avenue, New York. We can be directly reached at 212 879 6518. We look forward to hearing from you soon.