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Are You Getting Enough Fluoride?

I went to the dentist the other day for a cleaning, and she asked me if I use mouthwash that contains fluoride. I shook my head and said, "My toothpaste has fluoride in it, isn't that enough?" She didn't think so and clinical studies show that by using both a fluoride mouthwash and a fluoride toothpaste, it can provide extra protection against tooth decay more than if you use fluoride toothpaste on its own. Fluoride can prevent cavities in two ways. It strengthens the protective layer of enamel on your teeth, so it can better resist cavities. It can also reverse low levels of tooth decay and remineralize soft spots on your teeth, which can prevent new cavities from cropping up.

What about fluoride being added to public water? To find out

Even though fluoride can be found naturally in many water sources, many cities add fluoride to tap water. Some believe the extra fluoride can be detrimental to your health, and can cause staining, bone cancer, or mental illness. Others believe that it's doing your mouth good, and that there's no evidence that fluoride can lead to serious health problems. Drinking fluoride is a lot different than rinsing with it though, so is my dentist right? Should I be rinsing with fluoride?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the best way to reduce tooth decay is to get fluoride both topically (as in toothpastes and mouth rinses), and systemically (when you drink it). So they're all for fluoride in water, and they say that it can reduce tooth decay in both children and adults by 20 to 40 percent.

So do you need a fluoride rinse? It depends on your dental history (whether or not you're prone to getting cavities), if your town adds fluoride to its water supply, and the recommendation of your dentist. So call your local health department to find out how much fluoride can be found in your public water, and talk to your dentist to see if they think you need to pick up a bottle of fluoride rinse.

Join The Conversation
JessBear JessBear 9 years
When I'm poor, I'll buy $0.99 Colgate (it's ALWAYS one sale). But whenever I can, I stick to Tom's of Maine w/o flouride. While I'm not informed enough to argue effectively one way or the other, I thought it was generally accepted that too much flouride was NOT a good thing. I drink liters of tap water everyday, and that's plenty flouride for me, thank you very much.
guidolina guidolina 9 years
Fluoride is a known carcinogen. And it may not actually prevent dental cavities. You would be better off to avoid it.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I have it in my toothpaste and use the ACT one before bed religiously.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
I use Scope however I should read the label; I'm pretty sure it has fluoride. All I know is that in December I went to get my teeth cleaned and for the first time in a long while I had not a single cavity! That made me so happy considering I have braces and it can be very difficult making sure there isn't any food stuck in the brace. I use Sensodyne toothpaste and Scope Mint mouthwash.
karlorene karlorene 9 years
i am drinking "fluoride to go" water right now
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I use a special toothpaste from my dentist that has extra fluoride in it, plus my city has fluorinated water, so I think I'm probably getting enough. The toothpaste is really different; you have to leave it in your mouth for two minutes after you brush, then spit it out. Kind of like the mouthwash, I suppose. It must be working, my dentist tells me I have a gorgeous set of teeth.
mara_viajera mara_viajera 9 years
Hooray for flouride, but please be careful if you're pregnant. When I was a fetus, my mom lived in a city where they believed there was no such thing as too much fluoride in the water. Her teeth are beautiful, my teeth have horrible white and off-white marbling. The stains have mellowed now, but when I was a girl it looked like I had been chewing on a white-out pen. They are really strong...just not pretty.
emalove emalove 9 years
I think I'm going to buy that Tom's one...I love their products.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
I have teeth that have been damaged from years of drinking soda, poor brushing when I was younger and have soft spots. I have fluoride trays. They made trays specifically for my teeth and I have a fluoride gel that I apply in the tray and I have to wear for 30 mins. Its annoying and tastes nasty but it works. Unfortunately I lost my trays. I think they are in a box somewhere so I do a fluoride rinse and have toothpaste specially made for strengthening enamel. Use your fluoride kids you do not want enamel damage like me
marcella marcella 9 years
I use Colgate's Phos-Flur rinse every night!
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
i do the purple listerine fluoride rinse at night -- i'm 24, and no cavities yet!
SassyRedhead SassyRedhead 9 years
never had a cavity, but have been drinking tap water with flouride my entire life.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
Yep, I do a fluoride rinse at night.
michlny michlny 9 years
actually, i use toothpaste and mouthwash sans fluoride. fluoride is quite detrimental to one's health. it's a very controversial issue and i'd advise everyone to research it on their own.
taratootie taratootie 9 years
ashcwebb... I am the exact opposite. I am pretty sure I have a cavity in every molar. I brush 2-3x a day and floss everyday and use ACT everyday... but always with the cavities. I dont even like sweets! I even use xylitol instead of sugar! Grrr. Seriously, my teeth are my biggest health issue. I am so vigilant but still... Anyway, I just got my wisdoms out last week, and now I have braces for 6 months and then I get 4 implants and some bonding, and I should have a sweet smile! See pics in profile for "before" shots, lol. Yeah, I get enough fluoride... does it help? I hope!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I have perfect teeth haha. Never ever had a cavity in my life - so I must be doing something right :)
kelliegonzo kelliegonzo 9 years
YAY fitsugar!!! i'm a dental assistant and i KNOW people don't know this stuff. fluoride is an amazing thing, people just get scared of it for some reason. USE IT PEOPLE :D
ibiteback ibiteback 9 years
I have braces so I have to use fluoride. If you have braces you can't brush that well so the best way to clean your teeth and prevent cavities is to use a mouthwash containing fluoride. Though the ACT I use doesn't whiten your teeth very much (I admit, though I use the kid's stuff, bubble gum is the best flavor!). For whitening my teeth I use a mixture of 1/2 ts. baking soda and 1-2 drops peroxide (the stuff your mom used on cuts that hurt, doesn't hurt in your mouth though) and brush it on and wait 3 minutes. Rinse but don't swallow. If you don't feel safe using peroxide though you can use 1/8 ts salt instead.
sarlafrock sarlafrock 9 years
my dentist told me that any mouthwas with alcohol in it, listerine, etc, was bad for you.
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