What is Fluoride

What is Fluoride?

Fluroide fluoride fluoride…

  • Why is it that dentists love it so?
  • Is it good for your teeth?
  • What exactly does it do?
  • Do I need it?
  • Do I need more than I am currently getting?
  • What forms does it come in?
  • Is my water fluoridated?

There is a lot to discuss so let’s get started…

Fluoride is one of our truest allies in the fight against dental caries. It receives a lot of unfair bad press by anti-fluoride lobbyists who have various arguments on why it should be banned- I will touch on these later.

I understand their concern but, ask a dentist, any dentist, if they believe fluoride is a good thing and you will get an overwhelming response in favour of it. There’s a few holistic guys out there who may be adverse but get a 1000 strong group of dentists together and you’d be hard pressed to find the hands of those against it. Why? Because day in, day out we see the benefits it conveys on people’s teeth from the very young to the very old. In fact, the only people who it doesn’t help, are those we call edentulous- that is those with any teeth whatsoever!

What Evidence is there for the Effectivness of Fluoride?

Aside from the clinical evidence we see every single day in the surgery, many scientific studies exist showing the effect fluoride has on enamel and on reducing dental decay.

A recent meta- analysis of the effectiveness of fluoride at reducing caries for fluoride gel treatments showed a 22 to 26% overall reduction in the amount of decay. That’s not to be sniffed at if you ask me. A meta-analysis by the way is a study of all the other studies.

Where is Fluoride found?

In our bodies- we have fluoride in:

  • Our blood
  • In our saliva
  • In crevicular fluid – This is a special clear (invisible to the naked eye) fluid produced by the cells in the gingival crevice- that’s the sulcus where your teeth and gums meet. It contains many protective elements and has anti-microbial properties to help protect your teeth.
  • In interstitial fluid– This is a bit hard to explain- it’s the fluid in-between your cells that helps to take away waste and provide nutrients for them to work effectively.

What is the Fluoride Concentration?

Fluoride concentrations are either shown in ppm (parts per million) or as a percentage.

The fluoride (F) percentage can be a little confusing since it is relative to the compound it’s in; the most common ones in toothpastes and mouthwashes are sodium fluoride (NaF), and acidulated phosphate fluoride (APF).

Hopefully this chart will help:

0.05 % fluoride (F)= 500 ppm