How fluoride works and why it's not all bad
A dangerous chemical or a beneficial addition?
If exposed to a high dose of this substance, you can increase your risk of heart disease, depression and cancer. It can also cause acne, weight gain and accelerate cognitive decline, leading to dementia. It can even negatively impact your dental health if you take too much. Sounds like you probably shouldn’t be ingesting something that causes such adverse effects, right? Well before you start tweeting about the dangers of fluoride, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: the effects we described are a result of eating too much sugar. We're not trying to trick you – the point we’re trying to make is that almost anything is ‘bad’ if you take too much.
A topic of much debate
It can be difficult to sift through all the information and find out the truth. But in actual fact, all you need to know is that if it genuinely wasn’t safe, then it simply wouldn’t be so widely accessible and recommended by medical professionals. There are concerns that exposure to high doses can cause adverse effects, but this is true for many things we regularly eat and drink, such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol. The concerns about fluoride don’t have enough evidence to support them, but the benefits are vast and scientifically backed.
Fluoride has been shown to prevent cavities via a number of mechanisms
Firstly, it stops the enamel from demineralising in the presence of bacterial acids and is also said to inhibit these bacterial acids, thus protecting the enamel from two different angles. In the event of acid attack, it enhances remineralisation and the newly remineralised enamel is stronger and more resistant to subsequent attacks.
Quality > Quantity
It’s not about the amount of fluoride. More important is the availability.
As we’re sure you’ve heard the famed fluoride has been proven to protect teeth against decay. What you may have heard is that the more fluoride within toothpaste, the better. What you may not have heard is that the bioavailability of the fluoride is far more important than the quantity. Allow us to tell you more.
Imagine your teeth as having a protective shell. After eating, the pH inside your mouth decreases (meaning it gets more acidic) and this shell slowly begins to break away from the teeth. Luckily, our saliva contains replacement fragments of the shell; however, these fragments are unable to adhere to the teeth without a little help.
That’s where hygiene-hero fluoride comes in. It binds to the fragments to hold them together and restores the shell that protects your teeth. Now, there are a limited number of fragments within the saliva so we only need as much fluoride as we have fragments. More important than the quantity is the quality of the fluoride, and by that we mean its bioavailability.
Some toothpastes are formulated in such a way that the fluoride is bonded before it even leaves the tube. This means that it is not free to couple with the shell fragments in the saliva and so the protective layer cannot be restored. This is why we use sodium fluoride within our formula, as it contains enough fluoride that is readily available for bonding and protecting.