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Fluoride: how beneficial it is.

Both the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA) support the use of fluorides in dentistry as a safe and effective preventative measure against dental caries. Those organizations declare that historically, fluoride, as a decay preventative, has been extensively researched for well over 50 years, and the research has been consistent in proving its safety and efficacy. It is worth to discuss it.

Humans ingest fluoride daily since fluoride salts are found naturally in food and water and as an additive in public drinking water, toothpastes, and in oral rinses. So dental hygienists must assess and account for these varied sources before considering any particular means of fluoride delivery to any individual, particularly children under the age of 3 and pregnant women, for whom over-exposure can result in a condition of the teeth known as fluorosis.

Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of teeth and is caused when higher than optimal amounts of fluoride are ingested in early childhood while tooth enamel is forming. As long as the total daily intake of fluoride is maintained below specified levels, fluoride is a very important preventative measure in maintaining dental health of North Americans.

Both the CDA and ADA recognize the need to monitor the scientific literature with respect to levels of exposure to fluoride and general health to ensure the continued safe and effective use of fluorides in dentistry.

Fluoridated Toothpastes and Mouth Rinses

Both the American and Canadian Dental Associations acknowledge and support the use of fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses in the prevention of dental caries. The recommended usage of fluoridated toothpastes should be twice per day, with minimal rinsing of the mouth with water after brushing. In the case of children under 6 years of age, adult supervision during brushing is recommended, monitoring that only a small portion (grain of rice-sized portion) of fluoridated toothpaste is used, as excessive swallowing of toothpaste by young children may result in dental fluorosis or stomach problems. Children under 3 years of age should have their teeth brushed by adult using fluoride free toothpaste. It is further recommended that until the child develops the manual dexterity to properly brush their own teeth, an adult should do it for them (usually 8-9 years of age) and later on supervise this activity until they prove they are efficient.

Fluoride mouth rinses are effective preventive measures for individuals at risk and should be used according to the specific needs of the individual. Fluoride mouth rinsing is not recommended for children under 6 years of age.

Hygienist Delivered Fluoride Applications

The use of fluoride gels, foams and varnishes are recommended based on an assessment for risk for dental decay, history of dental decay, and consideration of facts such as whether the patient lives in community or area where the drinking water is not fluoridated.

Ongoing Debate

There is an ongoing worldwide debate about the fluoridation of the drinking water. This is the debate about the systemic fluoride (the one that gets ingested into the body and accumulated in the bones, teeth, and other organs). This is not about the mentioned above topical fluoride (the one in toothpastes and mouthwashes) which is proven to be beneficial to us.

Many Countries, after a long research and debates, decided to eliminate the program of the drinking water fluoridation. Based on the research, they concluded there is more risks and side effects involved, than potential benefits.

If you have any concerns about this topic please contact us for professional and personal advice.


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