Toothpaste Containing Fluoride: How much Is Enough?
Appropriate amount of fluoride is essential to help prevent tooth decay. To prevent dental decay recently Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, called for fluoride to be added to more areas of England’s water supply. But all the benefits of fluoride, intake above optimal levels creates a risk for enamel (dental) fluorosis, too much can lead to a permanent discoloring of the teeth (brown teeth), called dental fluorosis, when children “ate toothpaste”.
Fluoride affects teeth during the development stage before emerging through the gums. Enamel fluorosis is not a disease but affects the way teeth look. Most cases of fluorosis result in faint white lines or streaks on tooth enamel that are not readily apparent to the affected individual. Caregivers should ensure that young children use an appropriate size toothbrush with a small brushing surface and only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste at each brushing. Young children should always be supervised while brushing and taught to spit out rather than swallow toothpaste. Many children under age six have not fully developed their swallowing reflex and may be more likely to inadvertently swallow fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoride has undoubted contribution to reduce tooth decay, British dentists have been united in promoting this mineral, by supplying at the accurate dose with water. it makes enamel more resistant to acid and inhibits bacteria; according to the January issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter.
Fluoride toothpaste may cause or exacerbate perioral dermatitis most likely caused by sodium lauryl sulfate an ingredient in toothpaste. It is suspected that SLS is linked to a number of skin issues such as dermatitis and it is commonly used in research laboratories as the standard skin irritant with which other substances are compared
Too much fluoride can cause spots on your teeth. Fluorosis “is often caused by very young children swallowing fluoride toothpaste unsupervised”. This seems to put the responsibility on parents– the problem being that the messages they receive are not always clear.
According to the document delivering Better Oral Health, issued to all NHS practices in November 2007, recommended dentists should explain to the people any risk associated with ingesting too much fluoride. They exposed, of the half dozen families affected by fluorosis contacted by Body & Soul, all felt surprised that their dentists had never mentioned about fluorosis to them.
How to use & how much is enough of fluoride in toothpaste?
Most dentifrices today contain 0.1% (1000 ppm) fluoride, usually in the form of sodium monofluorophosphate (MFP); 100 g of toothpaste containing 0.76 g MFP (equivalent to 0.1 g fluoride). Toothpaste containing 1,500 ppm fluoride has been reported to be slightly more efficacious in reducing dental caries in the U.S. Fluoride toothpaste may cause or exacerbate perioral dermatitis most likely caused by sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) an ingredient in toothpaste. It is suspected that SLS is linked to a number of skin issues such as dermatitis and it is commonly used in research laboratories as the standard skin irritant with which other substances are compared. It is well established that 1.1% sodium fluoride is safe and effective as caries preventive. This prescription dental cream is used once daily in place of regular toothpaste.
American Medical Research Council working group reported in 2002: “Fluoride has a relatively low ‘therapeutic ratio’ [the ratio between an effective dose and a toxic dose].” There could be a fine line between doing good and doing bad.
Sodium fluoride (NaF) is the most popular active ingredient in toothpaste to prevent cavities; some brands use sodium monofluorophosphate (SMFP). Nearly all toothpaste sold in the United States has 1000 to 1100 parts per million fluoride ion from one of these active ingredients. This consistency leads some to conclude that cheap toothpaste is just as good as expensive toothpaste. When the magazine Consumer Reports rated toothpastes in 1998, 30 of the 38 were judged excellent.
Warning should be mentioned to keep out of reach of children under 6 years. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately. Department of Health advice for children under 7:” Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride. Young children should always be supervised while brushing and taught to spit out rather than swallow toothpaste.
Many children under age six have not fully developed their swallowing reflex and may be more likely to inadvertently swallow fluoride toothpaste. If you haven't had cavities in the last few years, the combination of brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice daily and drinking optimally fluoridated water should give you sufficient exposure.
Some people opposed to public fluoridation of drinking water say that water fluoridation can have negative health effects such as dental fluorosis which outweighs the purported benefits of water fluoridation. Some opponents claim that releasing fluoride compounds into municipal water takes away individual choice as to the substances a person ingests and amounts to mass medication.
But if you're at higher risk having had cavities recently, a water supply with low fluoride or a problem such as dry mouth that can lead to tooth decay your dentist may recommend for using fluoride treatments at home or a professional application of fluoride gel two to four times a year.