Is Mouthwash with Fluoride Safe to Use?

Fluoride, a mineral that naturally occurs in many foods and water, is known to prevent tooth decay.  Fluoride can reverse early decay and actually remineralizes your tooth enamel. It can be harmful if ingested in large quantities, but that is difficult to do because the over-the-counter products like toothpastes and mouth rinses have very low amounts of fluoride. Many people wonder if fluoride is actually safe. Your Fuquay-Varina dentists at Hamby Family Dental Center are experts in treating patients with fluoride and knowing whether fluoride mouthwash will be beneficial. In this article, we explain why fluoride is safe and the benefits of using mouthwashes that include fluoride as well as any possible risks of using products with fluoride in the ingredients.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that is naturally found in many foods and is available as a dietary supplement. It inhibits or reverses the beginning and progression of dental decay and stimulates new bone formation. Soil, water, plants, and foods contain trace amounts of fluoride. Most of the fluoride that people consume comes from fluoridated water, foods and beverages that are prepared with fluoridated water, toothpaste, and other dental products containing fluoride.

What Does Fluoride Do?

The protective outer layer of your tooth adds and loses minerals every day. As acids that are formed from bacteria, plaque, and sugars in your mouth destroy your enamel, you lose minerals. This process is called demineralization. You can gain minerals like fluoride, calcium, and phosphate by consuming food and water that contains them. This process is called remineralization. Tooth decay occurs when there is not enough remineralization to make up for the demineralization. Dental fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by making your tooth enamel more resistant to acid as well as reversing early decay.

What is a Fluoride Mouthwash?

A mouthwash that has fluoride added to it is beneficial in your oral hygiene routine. Using a fluoride mouthwash doesn’t remove plaque, instead, it protects your teeth from the acids that result from bacterial plaque. The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes the benefits of rinsing twice a day with an ADA-Accepted antimicrobial mouth rinse to reduce plaque and gingivitis, or using a fluoride mouth rinse to prevent tooth decay. A mouthwash does not replace brushing and flossing. You still need to remove food from between your teeth and brush food and residue off.  But, a fluoride mouthwash is additional protection from tooth decay that will assist in warding off cavities.

A proper amount of fluoride is important for adults and it is especially so for children over the age of 6. Children’s tooth enamel is young and, therefore, is susceptible to tooth decay. Children younger than 6 years old should not use a mouth rinse unless directed by a dentist due to the fact that it is unhealthy for young children to swallow large amounts of mouth rinse. The swallowing reflexes may not be well developed in young children and they can inadvertently ingest the mouth rinse, causing nausea, vomiting, and intoxication from the alcohol content that is in some rinses. Children under the age of 12 years should be closely supervised when using a mouthwash of any kind.

Is Fluoride Mouthwash Safe?

In a word, yes, fluoride mouthwashes are safe. Sodium fluoride is the ingredient in mouthwashes and appears to be safe and effective when used and consumed in appropriate amounts. A mouth rinse with fluoride usually contains 0.05% of Sodium Fluoride and is deemed to be both an appropriate and effective amount.

What are the Advantages of Fluoride Mouthwash?

In short, using fluoride mouthwash can help you prevent cavities, which over time result in progressive dental needs such as dental crowns, dental implants when teeth are pulled, and root canals for abscesses that can cause you to lose a tooth.

Here are some other advantages of using a mouthwash with fluoride added.

  1. Fluoride mouthwash can help reduce cavities by decreasing the cavitation and demineralization of teeth.
  2. Fluoride mouthwashes help the body make better utilization of minerals such as calcium and phosphate. The teeth reabsorb these minerals to restore weak tooth enamel.
  3. Fluoride mouthwashes can slow down or even reverse the development of cavities during the earler stage by destroying bacteria that cause cavities
  4. Fluoride mouth rinses adhere to and join the tooth structure during the development of the teeth. This strengthens the enamel, causing the teeth to be less exposed to bacteria and cavities for life.

Fluoride Mouthwashes Can Help

Fluoride mouthwashes can help to do the following:

  • Reduce the formation of cavities
  • Slow the growth of cavities
  • Delay or eliminate the need for expensive dental work
  • Prevent gum disease
  • Reduce tooth pain
  • Prevent the early loss of teeth

Contact Our Fuquay-Varina Family Dentists

If you have questions about using fluoride, either in a mouthwash or as a preventative treatment in a varnish, contact our team at Hamby Family Dental Center. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you decide whether it is beneficial for you and your family. Call us today so we can help you prevent dental issues like cavities at  919-552-2431 or fill out the form below.

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