Fluoride Vs Fluoride-Free Kids’ Toothpaste

Many parents have a hard time judging the kind of dental care their children need. They want to keep their kids’ teeth healthy by preventing cavities, yet, they do not always know the best way to achieve that. Moreover, natural toothpaste varieties are flocking the market, raising concerns about fluoride safety for babies and toddlers.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is a lot of confusing information in the media surrounding fluoride and fluoride-free toothpaste. The fluoride debate continues and here are the facts that will help you decide what option is best for your child. There is no ‘wrong’ choice because caring for your teeth is more than just the kind of toothpaste you use. It is also about regular cleanings and dental checkups as you care for the teeth at home.

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So, What Exactly Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral found in toothpaste and naturally occurring in drinking water and certain foods.

The mineral is normally white or colorless and can be found all over the earth’s surface. Fluoride exists in gas, solid, and liquid forms, and when used in small quantities, the mineral has been verified to fight cavities and prevent tooth decay.

So, fluoride is present in the bones and teeth. According to Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute (LPI), about 95% of the entire body fluoride is found in teeth and bones. It goes on to further state that fluoride in the body is not usually considered an essential mineral because human beings do not use it for growth or to sustain life.

What Does Fluoride Do?

Fluoride present in the teeth and bones exists naturally as calcium fluoride. While calcium fluoride may not be an essential element as mentioned earlier, the compound helps to keep the bones strong.

Calcium fluoride fortifies the mineral structure of the bone as well as teeth. Also, the element increases the reliability and forte of connective tissues such as the tooth enamel, bone, tendon, cartilage, and ligament.

Lack of fluoride in the body causes weak and brittle bones, decaying of tooth enamel, weakened connective tissues, cracks in the protective tissue that protects against the environment (epithelial tissue), as well as cause varicose veins among other health complications.

Via: freepik.com

Do Your Teeth Really Need It?

When used properly, fluoride is quite beneficial to your teeth by averting tooth decay. Moreover, studies have proven that the use of fluoride in toothpaste or drinking water is the most effective treatment for cavities to date. As well, too much exposure to fluoride can cause faint white streaks on the enamel, a defective condition called dental fluorosis. It has also been reported that too much fluoride can cause cognitive disruptions.

Until the discovery of fluoride toothpaste in the 1950s, toothpaste was mere scratchy pastes that attempted to clean the teeth using total grit. In 1956, the American Dental Association approved the use of fluoride toothpaste, and tooth decay was reduced to record levels in the US within a short period.

Much of the success of fluoride in toothpaste led to the use of fluoride in drinking water – at a period when oral health was at an unprecedented high. Consequently, there is no misgiving that historical evidence correlates the use of fluoride to the general improvement of oral hygiene. Moreover, with fluoride’s ability to protect and heal tooth decay, our oral well-being is better with it.

However, fluoride toothpaste is not recommended for kids below six years. That’s because the kids may not know how to spit out the paste and swallow it instead. When ingested in large quantities, fluoride can cause tummy illnesses and fluoride poisoning. It’s also important to know that fluoride in drinking water has been dropped to 0.07ppm over these concerns.

What About Non-Fluoride Toothpaste?

Fluoride-free types of toothpaste use natural ingredients including cranberry extracts, hydrated silica, and xylitol to remove dirt and kill bacteria. Besides, preventing tooth decay is one of the main reasons to maintain good oral hygiene and fluoride-free toothpaste is also fashioned to meet that need.

Xylitol, a natural sweetener, and a cavity-fighting element has been clinically proven to be a harmless alternative to fluoride, particularly for kids. Also, fluoridated water (found in tap water) will give your child exposure to smaller quantities of fluoride required in the body.

Also, fluoride-free toothpaste is usually recommended for people who are allergic to fluoride, and the pastes work safely and effectively. Also, grownups have opted to go fluoride-free due to worries over the amount of fluoride they have been exposed to over the years.

Therefore, both fluoride toothpaste and fluoride-free toothpaste are viable options for your child’s oral health care.

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