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It Starts With a Smile.

Is fluoride bad for you?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in many water supplies and in some foods.

In Australia, most public water supplies have a small amount of fluoride added to help strengthen teeth and make them more resistant against dental decay. This amount equates to 0.6 and 1.1 milligrams per litre (mg/La), and has also been proven not to have any adverse health effects

There is reliable evidence that has shown that the addition of fluoride to water supplies reduces rates of tooth decay in the Australian population. Approximately 89% of Australians now have access to fluoride in tap water. Some of these water supplies already contain fluoride naturally, while others have fluoride added at safe levels designed to help protect teeth against decay. A review of evidence by the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) found that people living in fluoridated areas had lower rates of tooth decay compared to those in non-fluoridated areas – 27% less tooth decay for adults and 26% to 44% less for children and adolescents.

Fluoride is also added to toothpaste and can be applied directly to the teeth as a preventative measure. Dentists recommend that teeth should be brushed twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste.

Parents with infants under 18 months should not use toothpaste when brushing their teeth, just plain water is sufficient. From 18 months to 6 years – or until the eruption of their first adult tooth (usually the lower front incisor), children should use a smear (smaller than a pea) of low fluoride children’s toothpaste. Children should be helped or supervised when brushing their teeth. When a child has adult teeth in their mouth, they should be then using an adult toothpaste. Children should be taught not to swallow toothpaste. Toothpaste works topically and requires adhesion on the tooth to work. This means that after brushing, excess toothpaste should be spat out and but not completed rinsed off.

Does fluoride have any side effects?

There is no reliable evidence linking water fluoridation with health problems when used at safe levels. An adverse outcome linked to excess ingestion is fluorosis. This is a cosmetic issue that results in the appearance of white lines or spots on the surfaces of the teeth. This is infrequent and only affects those who have consumed more fluoride than recommended, whilst their permanent teeth were developing. Fluorosis only affects the appearance of teeth and not their function or general health – in some cases, treatments can be performed to completely remove the spots.

After having your teeth professionally cleaned at Concord Dental Practice, we apply topical fluoride to your teeth using trays. A 6 monthly application of concentrated fluoride to your teeth is recommended.

For further information on fluoride use within the dental clinic, contact us at Concord Dental Practice on 9743 4001.