The concept of fluoride use in dental care and hygiene has been with us for nearly 100 years. Fluoride in toothpaste was made popular in the late 1950’s and fluoride in public drinking water since the mid 1940’s. Fluoride is not considered to be a dietary essential and no deficiency signs are known.
Fluoride is meant to function in two ways
a. Decreasing bacterial build up in food particles left around teeth and in plaque, thus decreasing
levels of acid produced and the acid attack or erosion of teeth enamel
b. Strengthening the enamel or outer structure of teeth through chemical incorporation
Please refer to Function of Fluoride for further detail.
However over the last 20 years more health authorities are raising concerns over fluoride in water and in toothpaste.
These concerns include
- Fluorosis (excessive fluoride in teeth and bone structure) especially in young children and developing adolescents
- Learning disabilities in children exposed to high fluoride intake levels
- Lower intelligence levels in developing children
Please refer to Concerns over Fluoride
As your pregnancy develops, and during breast feeding, you should become more aware of the pros and cons of fluoride intake, and especially fluoride in toothpaste. Fluoride is known to pass across the placenta. Please refer to Fluoride levels.