Facts to share with patients who ask about fluoride use in adults.
Some patients may have questions about the use of fluoride in their oral care products. As there is fiction online that can be confusing, here are a sample of questions you may hear with fact-based responses to empower your patients’ choices.
Why do you recommend a toothpaste or mouthwash with fluoride?
FACT: For cavity prevention, fluoride is the most proven solution for children and adults.
Fluoride in toothpaste has the highest possible grade of evidence and support from almost all relevant dental and medical organisations across the world, including the World Health Organisation (WHO). A recent systematic review by the established Cochrane organisation showed that fluoride-containing toothpastes reduce the development of cavities by 24%.
Reference: Marinho et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(1):CD002278.
I read online that is fluoride toxic and poisonous. Do you think fluoride is safe?
FACT: Fluoride has been recognised as being safe and effective by almost every dental and medical association in the world, including WHO.
Fluoride toothpaste has an excellent safety record going back over 50 years. It has been used safely by hundreds of millions of people
around the world. The majority of toothpastes available contain fluoride because regulatory agencies around the world, including the European Community and the United States, find fluoride-containing toothpaste to be both safe and effective.
What does fluoride do to the teeth to protect against cavities? I would rather reduce sugar in my diet to prevent cavities.
FACT: Fluoride is added to toothpastes because it has been
found to be beneficial in strengthening tooth surfaces and
preventing dental cavities.
Sugars are in almost everything we eat—not just snacks and drinks, but also a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. So reducing sugars alone is not enough to protect your teeth.
When we eat sugar, the bacteria living on our teeth use this sugar to grow and multiply. Dense bacterial masses (biofilms) form on the hard tissue and produce acids that attack our teeth and cause mineral loss in enamel and cavities.
Fluoride strengthens the enamel surface to repair the damage caused by sugar acid attacks, reverses early cavities and prevents further decay. Fluoride also supports the saliva’s natural ability to remineralize enamel in-between sugar acid attacks.
For more information about fluoride toothpastes, please visit:
Can you recommend me a natural, fluoride-free alternative?
FACT: Fluoride is derived from natural calcium mineral deposits
Fluoride-based oral care products are the gold standard for preventing cavities in adults and children.
Until non-fluoride alternatives have independent, well-established data to support their use, I will continue recommending fluoride products to all of my patients to prevent cavities.
For more information about the use of fluoride in oral care, please see the following:
ABO Brazilian Dental Association
APCD Paulista Dental Association
Brazilian Society of Pediatricians
Ministry of Health
Brazilian Society of Pediatric Dentistry