Fluoride is an essential part of your oral health routine to help protect your teeth from caries. It’s important to use a fluoride tooth paste that contains no less than 1500 ppm when brushing your teeth twice a day. Children under 3 years of age should use a smear of fluoride tooth paste which contains no more than 1000ppm of fluoride and children 3 years and over should use a pea sized amount of 1500ppm fluoride toothpaste.
In some cases, a fluoride varnish can be applied by your dentist or hygienist which can help prevent caries from developing and also helps treat sensitivity.
Toothpastes with a greater concentration of fluoride are available at 2800ppm for 10 years and over and 5000ppm for 16 years and over. These toothpastes are available for patients with a higher risk of decay and require a prescription from your dentist.
Fluoride reduces the risk of dental caries by blocking the enzyme systems of plaque bacteria preventing their ability to turn sugar into acids. Fluoride can also reverse/remineralise early lesions if applied topically to the teeth through a fluoride varnish. This needs to be in conjunction with diet changes and improved oral hygiene.
The two main fluoride compounds found in the majority of toothpastes in the UK are either sodium monofluorophosphate or sodium fluoride, some toothpastes contain both. Some toothpastes contain stannous fluoride which is the fast absorbing type.
If you would like any other advice regarding the use of fluoride in your oral health routine please speak to your dentist or hygienist.