Fluoride is considered indispensable in dentistry. If you put enough fluoride in your toothpaste, it prevents tooth decay and helps to preserve your enamel. If you brush your teeth regularly, fluoride contributes significantly to tooth preservation, but the active ingredient is being discussed controversially on the internet. We have compiled the most important facts for you:
Is fluoride toxic?
First things first: No! Not in the quantities we usually take in. As with many other substances, the dose is crucial. Mistakenly, the terms fluorine and fluoride are often used synonymously, which causes confusion. Fluorine is a toxic gas; fluorides are salts of fluorine and are found everywhere in nature. Your body also contains fluoride, especially in bones and teeth!
What is fluoride?
Fluoride or fluorides are trace elements that are naturally part of the body and without which the human organism could not exist in its form! It is a natural raw material that binds to calcium and is deposited in the hard tooth substance during tooth development. Fluoride is found in many foods, for example in black tea and fish, as well as in most mineral waters.
How does fluoride work?
Fluorides have a positive effect on your dental health in various ways:
- Fluorides have a remineralising effect on the teeth. They have been shown to help calcium phosphates to be incorporated more quickly into the tooth enamel.Advantage: The time for bacteria to exploit the weak points in the enamel is shorter and the caries risk is reduced.
- Just like calcium phosphate, fluorides are deposited in tooth enamel.Advantage: Demineralisation of the teeth by acids is stopped.
- Fluorides, which are applied to the teeth with toothpaste, for example, form a kind of protective layer on the teeth.Advantage: If acid is produced, it is already neutralised by the top layer. Minerals and tooth enamel are not affected.
- Penetration disrupts the metabolism of bacteria.Advantage: The acid production which is dangerous to teeth is inhibited.
- Fluoride strengthens the enamel and thus the microstructure of the teeth, especially in childhood!Advantage: The teeth are more resistant.
On average, toothpastes containing fluoride inhibit tooth decay by 24% more consistently than toothpastes containing no fluoride. Therefore, toothpastes containing fluoride are recommended by dental associations!
Is there a risk of overdosing?
No, especially in Germany the daily fluoride intake is very low. An adult in this country ingests about 0.4 to 1.5 milligrams a day, which is below the guideline value set by the German Nutrition Society! This is 3.5 milligrams. Even if fluoride only enters the body by swallowing, there is no risk from toothpastes containing fluoride if used properly, because the toothpaste is not swallowed and the mouth is rinsed out after brushing. Even if swallowed accidentally, the amount is within the guideline values. Fluoride poisoning in children is also unlikely: a small child would have to eat at least one large tube of "adult"-toothpaste at a time, but even then the likelihood of symptoms of poisoning would still be very low.
Can pregnant women use fluoride toothpaste?
Yes! Locally applied fluoride-containing products such as toothpaste can be used bypregnant women without hesitation, as they do not play a role in the total fluoride intake due to spitting. Especially here in Germany, study results have shown that there is no reason to worry.