We’ve seen 'free from' labels on products trending for a while now in skincare, haircare, makeup, 'natural' deodorant, and now, they've made their way to toothpaste.
With more and more 'natural' or 'fluoride free' products popping up in supermarkets and even luxury beauty retailers, you're not alone if you're wondering what exactly fluoride does, and what the go is with those 'fluoride free' options.
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What does fluoride have to do with teeth?
The short version: it helps to strengthen teeth. Our teeth are mostly made up of two molecules, calcium and phosphate, which form a 3D diamond structure called hydroxyapatite.
When fluoride from our saliva comes into contact with our teeth, the hydroxyapatite crystals are converted into an even stronger diamond structure, called fluorapatite.
As we live our lives – eating, drinking, chewing, brushing our teeth, sleeping – these diamond structures are constantly losing and regaining minerals, which is normal. If we lose more than we gain, that’s when permanent damage occurs.
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The beauty of fluorapatite crystals is that they slow down the rate of loss, and speed up the rate of gain. For you, this means teeth more resilient to decay, fewer cavities - and when decay does occur, its progression is slower.
According to Dr Trak, "Our toothpaste – the presence or absence of fluoride in the toothpaste we use, how often we use it, when we use it, how long we use it – is the second biggest determinant to our risk of developing dental decay. Since fluoride is not naturally found in our teeth, the best way to get fluoride to our teeth is to apply it topically with toothpaste."