Does your toothpaste contain right level of fluoride?

Toothpaste on a brush used to tell the story. [PHOTO CREDIT: Wikipedia]
Toothpaste on a brush used to tell the story. [PHOTO CREDIT: Wikipedia]

One of the frequent questions dentists asks when you visit their office is what type of toothpaste do you use?

We often answer by mentioning the brand and wonder what prompts the question or if there is something wrong with our choice of toothpaste.

Toothpaste is a common product used every day by most people. The numbers of toothpaste options available on the market these days are so numerous and it can be confusing to make a decision about the best one to buy.

The dentist’ question is no cause for alarm. The dentist just wants to ascertain if you use the toothpaste for your oral hygiene.

There are different kinds of toothpaste that strengthen gums, whiten teeth, control tartar and contain fluoride among other things.

But the question still stands- which is the best toothpaste to be purchased? According to Nigeria Dental Association (NDA), the right toothpaste should contain fluoride.

What is fluoride?

According to NDA, fluoride is one of the most important ingredients in toothpaste especially in this part of the world.

Fluoride is a chemical that occurs naturally worldwide, present in natural water and even plants.

The effect of fluoride is widespread and important at a certain level, but just like all substances excessive ingestion is harmful.

At controlled levels, fluoride improves the strength and quality of the teeth by improving the crystalline structure of the enamel (the thin outer covering of the tooth body) making it less susceptible to acid dissolution.

Fluoride is beneficial to both the tooth and the tooth structure and it prevents the tooth against bacteria causing tooth decay

Despite the importance, it is not all toothpastes that contain fluoride and they contain varying levels.

NDA in an educational tweet on its twitter handle, @nigdental said that traditionally, toothpaste should contain fluoride level of 950 -1500 Part Per Million (PPM) and this is often indicated on the product.

The tweet recommended that Nigerians should always try to patronise the Nigerian brands of toothpaste as they contain the recommended dose of fluoride for this part of the world.

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It, however, warned that though it is important to use a fluoride toothpaste to brush the teeth, children should not be allowed to ingest and swallow toothpaste.

The tweet also advised that, irrespective of the brand of toothpaste, they should always check to ensure that it contains fluoride before using it.

“There are also brands of toothpaste for children with lesser fluoride content too,” it said.


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