With so many advocates against fluoride,we decided to clear up our 5 reasons to have afluoride toothpaste and toothpaste tablets.
Fluoride, used in dentistry for over 80 years, has been surrounded by a lot of controversy in the last years. The biggest victim of the fluoride controversy isfluoride toothpaste. Many brands have come up with fluoride-free toothpaste recipes, and many people have been sold into the idea that fluoride is bad for you.
Well, we beg to differ. When it comes to teeth, fluoride is your friend! We use fluoride in ourThe Bam&Boo Natural Toothpaste as well as in ourThe Bam&Boo Toothpaste Tabs, and we are dying to tell you the five reasons why.
But first, let’s clear up some confusion:
What is fluoride?
Let’s start with sodium fluoride. This is the compound that is normally present in kinds of toothpaste, mouthwash and even in public water systems.Sodium fluoride is composed of the ionfluoride (F-) and the ion sodium (Na+). Technically, sodium fluoride is classified as a salt.
The ion fluoride is never alone in nature – rather, it prefers to combine with other lonely ions, like sodium. Many fluoride salts are naturally occurring in nature. Volcanic activity is a big source of fluoride. However, it can occur in smaller quantities in the soil, in plants, and water streams.
Why are some people against the use of fluoride?
The anti-fluoride camp seemingly growing every day. This controversy arises from political, moral, ethical, and health considerations. But why some people are against its use?
The most common arguments, beliefs or barriers are:
- Fluorosis: a cosmetic condition that can appear as various changes in the appearance of the tooth enamel, including white or dark spots on the teeth.
- Excessive Intake: a lot of people believe that many children today exceed the recommended level of fluoride intake from toothpaste alone.
- Effectiveness: as fluoride does not prevent 100% of cavities, some people misunderstand its effectiveness, namely in preventing caries.
- Misinformation: the rise of fake news and the proliferation of doctored narratives that are spread around the Internet, results in misinformation. We can say fluoride is a "victim" of this phenomenon.
Fluoride Toothpaste: 5 reasons why?
Here are our 5 reasons to have afluoride toothpaste, backed by science!
1. It is proven to prevent cavities
Over the decades, a lot of research has been made around the subject of fluoride and caries, or cavities. Be itstudies done in the ‘90s ormore recent ones, the vast majority seems to be in consensus:fluoride toothpaste does help prevent cavities in adults of all ages. Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) hasreached the same conclusion.
2. It is proven to prevent (and even revert) tooth decay
Without getting into technical detail, fluoride has been proven tohelp prevent tooth decay by strengthening the tooth enamel (the white outer layer of your teeth), and alsorevert early tooth decay by remineralisation. It has also been shown thatfluoride toothpaste is effective in preventing various forms of tooth decay inchildren andteenagers.
3. It might help reduce gingivitis
Gingivitis is a common gum disease characterised by swelling of the gum around the teeth, bleeding, irritation, redness and sometimes associated pain. It is mainly caused by the accumulation of plaque that turns into tartar. Well, ithas been shown that fluoride has helped reduce gingivitis and alsoprevent it.
4. It can help reduce hypersensitivity
If you suffer from dentine hypersensitivity, also called dentine sensitivity, then you know this seemingly “small” problem causes discomfort and can have severe negative impacts in quality of life. Although more research needs to be done, the results seem promising:fluoride toothpaste canhelp in the treatment of dentine hypersensitivity andact as a desensitising agent.
5. It is safe for adults
Yes, fluoride is toxic to humans, in high amounts. It is estimated that a possiblylethal dose of fluoride is of about 32 mg per kg of body weight in adults, which translates to around1900mg for an adult that weighs60 kg. However, a much lower dose of10 mg of fluoride a day is estimated to be the upper limit of fluoride ingestion for which there areno adverse effects on healthin otherwise healthy adults.
Scary, right? But do you have any idea of how muchfluoride toothpaste would it take to reach these amounts? Don’t worry, we’ll do the math for you.
The averagefluoride toothpaste contains between 1000 and 1500 ppm of fluoride. Let’s assume a toothpaste with 1500 ppm fluoride: this means that in every gramme of toothpaste there is 1,5 mg of fluoride. Assuming the average person brushes their teeth thrice a day, with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (about 0,4 grammes), this means that a regular person is “ingesting” a bit under2mg of fluoride a day fromfluoride toothpaste. And this is considering that the average person ingests the toothpaste, rather than spitting it out.
Are you using too much toothpaste? Spoiler alert: you probably are. And even so, eating your toothpaste and all, this would still be below theadequate daily intake of fluoride of 0,05mg of fluoride per kg of body weight per day recommended by the U.S National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine - 0,05mg/kg/day for a 60kg adult translates to around3mg.
What about the lethal dose? Well, to reach the 1900mg of fluoride in one day, a 60kg adult would have to ingest about17 tubes offluoride toothpaste. So, does our math make sense?
But, just so you don’t think we are biased: fluoride has proven to be so effective in protecting the teeth that it is even added to the public system waters of most countries in the world, in trace amounts. This has been done since the ‘40s, and seems to be one of the most cost-effective ways of preventing tooth decay, by ensuring that all the populations have access to low concentrations of fluoride, regardless of their social-economic status.
What is your stance? Are you going to give it a try? Let us know!