ADA (Australian Dental Association) recommendations for which toothpaste.
“What is Australia’s most prevalent disease?” Tooth decay or what the experts call caries. 4 out 10 primary school children have decay affecting an average of 1.5 teeth, in high school, this drops to 1 in 3 children, though they are permanent teeth.
Decay starts when the enamel (the outer coating on the tooth’s surface which is made up of calcium and phosphate) dissolves. It’s a slow process but left unchecked, will lead to cavitation and a painful trip to the dentist’s chair. Early decay can be invisible to the human eye, or it may show through as white spots or increased staining.
The good news is that teeth have a natural repair process called remineralisation. That process replaces the enamels lost calcium and phosphate in early decay. The bad news, however, is the natural repair process is very slow and does not always counterbalance the tooth material lost to decay. Fortunately, remineralising toothpaste can help give the remineralisation process its needed boost.
For good dental care, we should always start with having a healthy diet, low in acids and sugars. Acids erode/dissolve the tooth’s enamel, whilst sugars feed bacteria which create acids.
Good dental care is also about brushing twice per day, brushing helps reduce plaque forming, cleans away food and helps massage the gums. The ADA recommends that brushing should be with a fluoridated toothpaste (pea sized amount), this recommendation is supported by a lot of evidence gathered over close to 50 years. Fluoride helps stop decay and aids the remineralisation process. In the correct doses, it can also create a protective more acid-resistant coating on the tooth’s surface.
There has been a movement to not use fluoride because of the risk of fluorosis, this movement appears stronger in the US, but has gathered some momentum in Australia (Not with dentists, I have spoken to about 300 dentists, the vote is 299 for 1 against). Fluorosis typically shows up by a permanent mottled appearance in permanent but does not affect tooth integrity. It generally occurs during the formative phases of permanent teeth, from the ingestion of excessive fluoride.
Ultimately using or not using fluoride is a personal choice, the ADA recommends its use because of the anti-decay (caries) benefits it delivers. Fluoridated toothpaste use with its recommendations for quantity by age are listed below.
New award-winning technology developed at Queen Mary University in London is changing the way fluoride is used and the quantity required. Known as silicates, this class of toothpaste contain up to 60% less fluoride. They use the fluoride more efficiently, as such requiring much less to be present. They also contain calcium and phosphate to help repair early decay. (Commercially known as BioMinF)
Fluoride-free silicates have also been developed, delivering similar performance as their fluoridated cousins. They also provide calcium and phosphate to repair the tooth’s enamel but miss out on the acid resistance that fluoride offers. (Commercially known as BioMinC)
Australian Dental Association recommended fluoride contents and brushing
- From eruption to 17 months teeth should be cleaned but without toothpaste, unless decay risk is high.
- 18 months to 5 Years, cleaned twice per day with the toothpaste containing 500 – 550 ppm fluoridated toothpaste. Under adult supervision, pea-sized amount on a soft child-sized brush. Children should NOT swallow but spit out and not rinse. If decay risk increased higher concentrations may be used.
- For ages 6+ twice or more frequently per day, using 1,000-1500 ppm fluoridated toothpaste. Do NOT swallow but spit out and not rinse. For heightened decay risk see your dentist for advice.
BioMin F use the fluoride recommended for 18 mth to 5 years old’s to deliver adult levels of perforance.
Benefits of fluorapatite
Fluorapatite is more resistant to acid than tooth enamel (hydroxyapatite) and hence gives greater protection against acid attack. Conventional toothpaste introduces fluoride during brushing, however, the fluoride rapidly diminishes at an exponential rate.