Here’s What Happens When You Stop Using Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride is an important mineral that can help strengthen your teeth and fight decay, but what happens when you stop using it? 

Have you ever read the ingredients on the back of your toothpaste bottle and wondered what fluoride is? 

Fluoride is a common ingredient that you’ll find in many kinds of toothpaste available at your local drug store. It’s a mineral that is added to toothpaste that helps to strengthen your teeth and protect them from decay and cavities.

Although it has proven to be a highly successful way to protect teeth and prevent decay, many people fear that it’s not a natural element or could cause harm to their health. 

When in fact, not having enough fluoride in your diet could cause you more harm in the form of tooth decay, infection, and disease. Your mouth is a gateway to many other areas of your body, and by failing to maintain your oral health, you could be putting the rest of your body at risk. 

To help you better understand the importance of fluoride and toothpaste containing the mineral, this article will take a deep dive into what you shouldknow about fluoride, fluoride toothpaste, and more. 

Here’s a quick look at a few of the topics we’ll cover: 

  • What is fluoride?
  • What is fluoride toothpaste? 
  • Why use toothpaste with fluoride in it? 
  • Can both adults and children use fluoride toothpaste? 
  • What happens when you stop using fluoride toothpaste? 
  • Is fluoride toothpaste safe?
  • How much fluoride should be in your toothpaste?
  • Fluoride toothpaste vs. fluoride-free toothpaste
  • Other ways to increase your fluoride intake

What is fluoride? 

Fluoride is a natural mineral that can be found in certain foods and tap water. 

It plays a vital role in keeping your teeth strong and healthy by adding a protective layer to your tooth’s enamel. This protects the tooth from tooth decay and prevents cavities and disease from forming in your mouth. 

There are many products in which fluoride has been added to help improve the dental health of the users, including toothpastes and mouthwashes. Adding fluoride to these products helps to strengthen your teeth and adds an additional layer of protection. 

Using products that include fluoride will allow you to add an extra layer of protection for your teeth simply by following your daily oral hygiene routine. 

The benefits of fluoride

Adding fluoride to your daily intake will provide you with several benefits. 

First and foremost is protection from tooth decay and cavities. 

When bacteria and sugars build up in your mouth, they cause demineralization to occur. Demineralization creates acid that then begins to erode the tooth’s enamel and weaken it over time. As the enamel weakens, it leaves the tooth susceptible to decay. 

Fluoride helps to fight this process by allowing your teeth to begin to remineralize on their own and restore the surface of the enamel. 

diagram that shows you the benefits of fluoride treatments
Without the presence of fluoride, you’re leaving your teeth susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. Protecting your tooth’s enamel by using products that contain fluoride will help you keep your teeth as healthy as possible.

In addition to initiating the remineralization process, fluoride also helps to control bacterial growth. This means that it reduces the risks of bacteria overgrowth, resulting in less of a chance of tooth decay due to the build-up of bacteria. 

How much fluoride do you need? 

At this point, you may be wondering — how much fluoride do I really need each day? 

The recommended amounts of fluoride intake range based on age and sex. Children need much lower levels of exposure, while adult men require slightly more fluoride than women in the same age range. There are also additional considerations for pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

The recommended amount of fluoride each individual’s needs varies based on their age and sex. Young children will only need a small amount of exposure to protect their teeth, while adults should have a higher intake.

Luckily, there are a number of different ways to obtain the proper amount of fluoride. Whether it’s through diet changes or using toothpaste containing fluoride, it’s not difficult to reach your recommended intake levels. 

What is fluoride toothpaste? 

It’s as basic as it sounds — fluoride toothpaste is a toothpaste that has fluoride added to it, providing additional protection to your teeth and strengthening the enamel. 

toothbrush with toothpaste on it
Many of the toothpastes you find at your local drug store contain fluoride. Toothpaste that contains fluoride helps to protect your teeth from cavities by strengthening the enamel and fighting against decay before it begins to spread. 

Using fluoride toothpaste is a great way to protect your teeth and get exposure to the mineral you need to initiate remineralization in your enamel. These types of toothpaste can be used by both adults and children to proactively preserve the health of your teeth. 

While fluoride is safe and is beneficial for children to use, you should always monitor the amount of toothpaste being used by children when brushing. It is possible to have too much of a good thing and that is true with toothpaste that contains fluoride. 

Adding fluoride toothpaste to your daily routine is a great way for both adults and children to prevent tooth decay before it begins and help keep your smile healthy 

Why use toothpaste with fluoride in it? 

Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride will help initiate the remineralization of your teeth and add an extra layer of protection.

Fluoride toothpaste is a great way to easily integrate fluoride into your oral hygiene routine. By using fluoride toothpaste each morning and night, you’re actively replacing the mineral and allowing your teeth to begin to heal themselves from any damage done throughout the day. 

Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste is one of the best things you can do for your teeth to keep them strong and healthy. 

What are the benefits of using fluoride toothpaste? 

The main benefit of fluoride toothpaste is that it’s an easy, effective way to provide your teeth with access to the mineral. 

While it can be found in certain foods and tap water, if you’re not eating those foods or your town does not have fluoridated water — then you may not be receiving the mineral. 

With the help of toothpaste and mouthwashes that contain fluoride, you don’t have to worry about other ways you’re accessing fluoride. You’ll know that your daily brushing routine will be enough to help your teeth remineralize and protect against decay.

Can both adults and children use fluoride toothpaste? 

Yes, both adults and children can use fluoride toothpaste, but it’s always important to monitor children when brushing their teeth. 

When ingested in large quantities or consistently over a long period of time, fluoride can cause things like fluorosis, the discoloring of a tooth, and gastrointestinal discomfort. These things can be avoided by making sure your child is using the proper amount of toothpaste and spitting it out after brushing. 

the incorrect and correct amount of toothpaste you should put on your brush
If your child puts too much toothpaste on their toothbrush, there is a much higher chance that some of it will be consumed. While this won’t necessarily harm them if it happens every once in a while, it’s not something you want to happen on a regular basis.

Proper exposure to fluoride is an essential element in the growth and development of a child’s teeth. Allowing them to use a fluoride-based toothpaste will help ensure they’re getting the proper intake to help them grow strong, healthy teeth.

What happens when you stop using fluoride toothpaste? 

If you decide to stop using fluoride toothpaste, you can expect to notice a change in your teeth over time. 

Without the proper amount of fluoride, your teeth will begin to weaken over time. The enamel will become thinner and will no longer be able to remineralize quickly enough to replace the amount of demineralization occurring. 

This will make it easier for bacteria to creep in and take over. At this point, you may start to notice early signs of tooth decay. 

These are a few of the common symptoms of cavities and tooth decay you may begin to experience:

  • Toothache 
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain when eating or drinking 
  • Visible holes or pits in your teeth
  • Discoloration on the surface of your tooth
  • Pain when biting down

As that decay starts to progress, you’ll likely notice more symptoms and they’ll become more severe over time. Eventually, they’ll cause enough pain and discomfort for you to make an appointment with your dentist.

Depending on how far along the tooth decay has progressed, you may simply need a filling, but if the decay is severe enough, the tooth may need to be extracted. 

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Is fluoride toothpaste safe? 

Fluoride toothpaste has been found to be a safe and effective way for you to protect and strengthen your teeth. 

Some may claim that adding fluoride to drinking water use can cause diseases like cancer and kidney disease, but there is no scientific proof that this is true. 

In fact, there have been health reviews with expert panels that have all agreed that there is no credible evidence that fluoride in drinking water impacts increases the chances of having cancer. 

The only risk that has been associated with fluoride use is fluorosis, a cosmetic flaw that leaves white lines in the tooth’s enamel. Fluorosis does not pose any harm to your health and will only lead to discoloration of the tooth. 

Using fluoride toothpaste as part of your daily cleaning routine is a safe way to keep your teeth strong and healthy. 

How much fluoride should be in your toothpaste? 

Knowing that there is such a thing as too much fluoride, you may be wondering what is the right amount for your daily toothpaste? 

The amount of fluoride toothpaste you should use varies based on your age. Children should have much lower dosages, while adults require more to protect their teeth. 

diagram showing you how much toothpaste you need based on the age
For both adults and children, it’s important to select a toothpaste that has the proper amount of fluoride in it. This will ensure you’re choosing a paste that has enough fluoride contents to add an extra layer of protection and strength to your teeth.

For adults, a toothpaste that contains between 1,350 and 1,500ppm of fluoride is recommended. This is the level of fluoride that has been shown to be the most effective.

The recommendations are slightly different for children. 

Children under three should only have a small amount of toothpaste added to their brush and use a paste with a fluoride content of around 1,000ppm. 

Once a child is between the ages of three and six, the amount of toothpaste used increases to the size of a pea, and fluoride content can be increased to 1,000 to 1,450 ppm. 

Regardless of age, young children should always be supervised when brushing their teeth to ensure they’re not swallowing toothpaste. This could lead to fluorosis and cause discoloration of their teeth.

Some scenarios exist when an adult or child may require toothpaste with higher fluoride levels. If this is the case for you, your dentist will prescribe a higher-strength toothpaste. 

Are there other toothpaste options? 

As you browse the rows at your local drug store, you’ll notice there are a variety of different types of toothpaste available. Many will contain fluoride, while others may promote themselves as more natural options. 

Across the board, you can expect most toothpaste options to include a few key ingredients, including: 

  • A form of mild abrasive to help remove debris and stains
  • Humectants to prevent water loss and dryness
  • Flavor to added to keep breath fresh
  • Detergent to create foam and disperse the paste 

But as you browse the oral hygiene row, you’ll notice some specialized kinds of toothpaste. These are the ones that promote fluoride, plaque and gingivitis fighting ingredients, whitening agents, and more. 

All of these different types of toothpaste help achieve a specific goal. Whether that’s to strengthen your teeth with fluoride or whiten the appearance of your teeth — there’s an option for your need. 

When browsing the different toothpaste options, make sure you’re aware of the type of toothpaste you need to help improve your oral hygiene. Choosing a more natural toothpaste that doesn’t contain fluoride means giving up the strengthening powers that come with a fluoride-based option. 

Fluoride toothpaste vs fluoride-free toothpaste 

Many people want to explore their options when it comes to toothpaste to better understand which is the right choice for them. Luckily, there are plenty of different types of toothpastes available today to choose from. 

To help you determine whether a fluoride or fluoride-free toothpaste is right for you, let’s compare the two. 

Fluoride toothpaste 

As mentioned previously, fluoride toothpaste will help to trigger the remineralization of your teeth and help to add a protective layer to your tooth’s enamel. This process strengthens teeth and decreases the chances of tooth decay from happening. 

fluoride digram showing you how it it helps increase the rate of remineralization
Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste will help to increase the rate of remineralization and help protect your teeth from decay. It allows your enamel to replace any compromised areas and helps to strengthen it with every application.

The negatives come with over-exposure to the mineral. By over exposing yourself or swallowing too much fluoride can cause fluorosis discoloration of the tooth. This cosmetic problem will not cause any additional harm to your health. 

Dentists and other medical professionals recommend that you use toothpaste containing fluoride to brush your teeth twice a day. 

There are many ADA-accepted fluoride toothpastes available. To gain the ADA Seal of Acceptance, the product must show proven success for preventing cavities. Choosing one of these fluoride toothpastes will ensure that you’re doing everything you can to protect your teeth from decay. 

Fluoride-free toothpaste

Although fluoride toothpastes are the most recommended type, some people choose to opt for an option without the mineral. This may be due to an allergy or abundance of fluoride exposure from other avenues for some people. 

If you have a child that is prone to swallowing toothpaste, this is another good reason for switching to a fluoride-free toothpaste option. Swallowing fluoride on a regular basis is one of the most common reasons people experience fluorosis. 

Speaking with your dental provider about whether you should or should not use a toothpaste containing fluoride will help you determine the best option for your needs. They can help recommend products to ensure you’re keeping your mouth as healthy as possible. 

Other ways to increase your fluoride intake

While toothpaste is one effective way to expose your teeth to the strengthening powers of fluoride, it’s not the only option. There are a variety of other options on that — including a few natural solutions. 

Natural sources of fluoride

Since fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, you can find it in a number of different foods and drinks. By increasing your consumption of these foods, you can naturally increase the amount of fluoride in your diet and protect your teeth in the process. 

Some naturally fluoridated foods include things like: 

  • Black tea
  • Lettuce and spinach
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Potatoes

Fluoridated water

For over 75 years, towns and cities have been adding fluoride to their water supply to help residents reach the appropriate levels of fluoride to keep their teeth strong and healthy. This practice has proven to reduce the rates of tooth decay in the United States. 

This means if you frequently drink tap water, then you’re likely already being exposed to fluoride on a regular basis. Although, if you’re using filtered water or opt for a bottle of water, you may be missing out on the fluoride benefits of tap water. 

So not only is drinking water good for your overall health, it has an added benefit to your oral health as well. 

Fluoride treatments 

Your dentist can also provide you with additional fluoride treatments if necessary. 

Fluoride treatments are more commonly used for children to help protect their teeth as they grow and set them up for healthy adult teeth. But that doesn’t mean that adults cannot receive fluoride treatments if necessary. 

The most common reason adults need fluoride treatment is when they’re not getting enough natural exposure or have medical conditions that increase their risk for decay. These treatments are then used to help strengthen the teeth and protect them from decay. 

Speaking with your dental provider is the best way to determine whether or not professional fluoride treatments are right for you. 

Give your teeth the strength they need with fluoride toothpaste

Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride on a regular basis is one of the most effective ways to keep your teeth healthy and decay-free. Brushing twice a day will clear any plaque or bacteria build up and allow your teeth to remineralize and strengthen the enamel. 

Although many people may fear the additive of fluoride in their toothpaste, it’s an important step to healthy teeth. Choosing a paste without the mineral can result in weaker teeth that are more prone to cavity or disease. 

So set yourself up for success and choose a toothpaste with the right amount of fluoride for your dental needs. 

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