Study: Fluoride Crucial To Prevent Cavities

If your toothpaste is fluoride -free, brushing and flossing alone aren't enough to keep cavities away, according to a recent study.

Philippe Hujoel (a leading researcher and professor of oral hygiene sciences at the University of Washington) says that fluoride can help you prevent cavities. It's more than just keeping your teeth clean.

Over the years dental specialists have debated whether the clean tooth' or'sound tooth' hypothesis is more important in the prevention of cavities.

The first group believes that good oral hygiene can remove sticky plaque, which is acid-producing and causes enamel to break down. It also allows bacteria-causing bacteria to infiltrate the teeth.

Some argue that flossing is not enough to keep your teeth clean. Hujoel claims that plaque is hard to find and difficult to access. Although oral hygiene is a good idea, fluoride makes all the difference in eliminating plaque and cavities.

Cavities can form in small cracks or crevices within the enamel. Hujoel isn't sure how fluoride prevents cavities. Hujoel says that there is evidence fluoride may block enzymes responsible for destroying teeth. Fluoride is believed to restore enamel minerals, strengthen teeth, reverse cavities, and help prevent them from ever happening.

Study Details

Although fluoride is a well-known treatment, Hujoel and his team decided to examine the impact of dental hygiene on cavity prevention. From 1950 through 2017, they searched medical literature and discovered three clinical trials that included 743 adolescents and preteens. From 2 1/2 years to three years, follow up was possible.

The U.S. conducted two and England one. None of the research was funded by any commercial company.

Researchers assigned children in the studies to an intense oral hygiene group or to a usual hygiene group of brushing and flossing. In the intense group in all three studies, the children had supervision of their oral hygiene, with plaque removal, at school, but no fluoride toothpaste was used at school.

All of the U.K. participants used fluoride toothpaste at home. Some in the U.S. studies used fluoride toothpaste and some did not at home, Hujoel says. He says that while the design wasn't ideal, it was important to show the difference between intense and less intensive hygiene. Two studies were done in communities with nonfluoridated water supplies.

Hujoel states that there was no difference in the number of cavities among groups. Hujoel says that intensive oral hygiene treatments, which succeeded in eliminating biofilm, didn't have any effect on cavities.

ADA Weights in

The research ''supports' what the dental association says for years, which is that fluoride brushing is good for your teeth," said Matthew Messina DDS, a Columbus dentist who also serves as a consumer advisor to the American Dental Association, and is an assistant professor of dentistry at The Ohio State University, Columbus.

A toothpaste that contains fluoride must be accepted by the ADA to receive its Seal of Acceptance. According to the ADA, you should brush twice a daily with fluoride toothpaste. You also need to floss once a month. Regular visits to a dentist are recommended. He says, "We know it works."

This is life-long advice, he states, because cavities do not only affect children. He says, "We're seeing an increase of the number of cavities among the elderly." This is partly due to better dental techniques that allow people to maintain their natural teeth longer. The side effects of many older medications can make your teeth more susceptible for decay.

Toothpaste Makers’ Point of View

Redmond makes an Earthpaste, a fluoride-free toothpaste that strengthens teeth. Darryl Bosshardt claims that fluoride can be used in one of the ways to strengthen them. He says that tooth decay can be caused not by fluoride deficiencies and that fluoride supplementation cannot reverse existing cavities.

He says that it can have potential adverse aspects, which some consumers want to avoid. One example is a study showing that fluoride-containing toothpaste can be inhaled by young children, as this was the main cause of fluoride poisoning, according to The Association of Poison Control.

Non-fluoride toothpastes may not be for everyone. We also acknowledge the fact that fluoride supplementation may not be an ideal option for all people. He urges everyone to discuss the pros and cons of fluoride supplementation with their dentist.

Although toothpaste with fluoride is best for dental health, Rob Robinson (a spokesperson for Tom's Maine) says fluoride toothpaste can be a good choice. Tom's toothpaste that is fluoride-free does not have an anti-cavity label.

Different Way

Hujoel states that there are other options for people who don't wish to use fluoride-containing toothpastes. He says that this reduces the amount of sugars in the diet, which can cause cavities and damage the teeth. This is the route he follows, though he recognizes that it's not possible for everyone to follow this strict diet. However fluoride-containing toothpaste should be part of their daily oral hygiene routine.