The Benefits of Fluoride Toothpaste & Mouthwash
The enamel on your teeth is made from calcium and phosphate and is actually stronger than bone! Teeth consistently get covered in a sticky film called dental plaque. When you eat sugary food or consume a sugary drink, the bacteria in dental plaque produce acid that attacks teeth. It strips the calcium and phosphate from the tooth enamel, which can lead to decay and cavities.
Your own saliva can help slow down the acid attack from sugary foods by adding calcium and phosphate back to your teeth. However, fluoride makes this process even more efficient. Fluoride is a natural mineral found in water, soil, and rocks. When you mix saliva with fluoride from toothpaste, or mouthwash, the fluoride works with calcium and phosphate to protect your enamel from cavities and decay.
How does Fluoride Prevent Tooth Decay?
Fluoride is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay, and research confirms that it helps prevent cavities in three ways:
- Fluoride has antibacterial properties that both stops the growth of bacteria and prevents bacterial microbes from sticking to the teeth.
- Fluoride sticks to the area of decay and attracts other minerals to help mend the enamel.
- Fluoride has a preventative quality. It produces a substance called fluorapatite, which is a type of tooth enamel that is very resistant to bacteria and acid.
Usage and Benefits Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride toothpaste must contain 1,000 parts per million (ppm) fluoride to achieve the benefits, and toothpaste with between 1,350 ppm and 1,500 ppm fluoride are the most effective. The amount of fluoride recommended in toothpaste varies slightly depending on age:
- Children aged 3 – 6 years old should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing more than 1,000ppm fluoride, brushing twice daily.
- Children over age 6 and adults should brush at least twice daily with a toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride.
- People at risk of tooth decay may be advised to use a high fluoride toothpaste by their dentist. The dentist will provide specific instructions on how to use high fluoride toothpaste.
Remember, after brushing your teeth, spit out the toothpaste but do not rinse with water. This keeps a layer of fluoride on the teeth to aid with strengthening and protection.
Usage and Benefits Fluoride Mouthwash
Mouthwash should not be used at the same time as brushing as it will wash the benefits of the toothpaste away. Instead, use at different times of the day to get the maximum benefits from both fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouthwash.
Fluoride mouthwash works differently to toothpaste and is not a substitute for brushing. It doesn’t remove plaque build-up on teeth but helps in the following ways.
- The fluoride in mouthwash is absorbed into the tooth enamel helping to protect it from cavities.
- It replenishes the lost calcium and phosphorus that keep your teeth strong.
For best results, try to incorporate a healthy dental routine that includes the use of fluoride mouthwash, brushing twice a day, and flossing once per day. Using fluoride dental products as advised by your dentist will help prevent decay and plaque build-up.
Dr. Evans Office in Boulder, CO is here for all your cosmetic & general dentistry needs. If you have any dental concerns, questions, or would like to make an appointment, you can fill out our online contact form or call 303-442-0990.