Are you guilty of grabbing a tube of toothpaste labelled 'Fluoride Whitening' without knowing what it does? If so, don't worry - we've all done it!
But if you're curious about the mysterious power of fluoride and how it can help your teeth, look no further; we'll answer any & all of your questions about this mysterious (and helpful!) substance here.
So, does fluoride whiten teeth? Let’s find out.
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring inorganic mineral which is water soluble, meaning that it dissolves into water sources. While large quantities of pure Fluoride would damage your body, it can be mixed into water at trace amounts for dental care.
Since around 1950, governments across the globe have added trace amounts of Fluoride to tap water systems in order to reduce cavity rates, which has remarkably improved dental health across all segments of the population, reducing cavity rates by 25%!
Most of us know that our bones and teeth are made of Calcium, but the specific compound is called hydroxyapatite, or HA. Because of a similar molecular structure, Fluoride can actually transform this compound into a harder and stronger FHA molecule, effectively guarding the teeth from weathering.
Fluoride Products For Dental Care
Fluoride can be used and applied in many ways, each of which has its own benefits. Among the common uses, it is added to drinking water, toothbrush bristles, and toothpaste, as well as applied directly to the teeth through a professional fluoride treatment or varnish.
Fluoridated tap water is one of the most cost-effective societal programs for preventing cavities because it reaches all members of the community, and distributes the benefits of dental fluoride across the population.
Topical fluoride applications such as gels, foams, mouthwashes and rinses are more concentrated forms that are available at dental offices by prescription only. These treatments help repair early signs of decay before they become visible, and can be self-applied at home despite containing higher amounts of fluoride.
In contrast, a fluoride varnish is a highly concentrated topical form of fluoride that dentists can brush directly onto teeth. It forms a protective layer to help prevent cavities and reduce teeth sensitivity. If you are looking for fluoride toothpastes, at-home teeth whitening strips, or any other products, check out our online store!
Fluoride For Teeth Whitening: Does It Work?
Does fluoride whiten teeth? Absolutely!
If you’re looking for a relatively natural teeth whitening method, fluoride is an easy solution. Off-coloring in teeth is a result of plaque build-up, and fluoride has long been known as one of nature’s most powerful plaque removers. In addition, fluoride goes a step further, removing coffee, wine and other stains from your teeth while also preventing future discolouration.
This means that with regular brushing and flossing coupled with fluoride treatments, plaque won’t be able to build up and discolor your teeth! Additionally, fluoride can help reduce acidity levels in the mouth, meaning that your enamel is less likely to be damaged over time. All these benefits of white teeth with fluoride make it an effective whitening treatment for those looking for quick results!
The Science Behind Teeth Whitening
So how does all of this work? Well, it all comes down to science: during teeth whitening with fluoride (where fluoride is applied directly to the surface of your teeth), it breaks down the discoloration caused by food and drinks like coffee, tea and wine through a process called demineralisation.
During demineralisation, the enamel on your teeth is weakened and then re-mineralised with calcium and phosphate ions that are naturally present in saliva. This helps to reverse any staining that has already occurred by allowing new molecules of minerals to infuse those that were lost.
Moving on, here are some frequently asked questions about fluoride and your teeth. Scroll down to learn more and improve your smile!
Is Fluoride Safe For Your Teeth?
Good question! Knowing that fluoride is one of the most commonly used ingredients in toothpaste and mouthwashes around the world, it's important to know if this chemical is both safe and beneficial for consumers.
The conclusion? Not only does fluoride whiten teeth, but recent studies have found that it’s also a safe and healthy teeth whitening option. To start off, according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately three-quarters of Americans are using fluoridated water on a regular basis - which means they're taking advantage of its proven benefits.
Fluoride helps strengthen enamel, reduce cavities, and even reverse early signs of decay. In fact, after drinking or brushing with fluoridated water daily for five years or more, people experienced up to 25% fewer cavities than those who didn't use fluoridated products at all!
How Long After Application Does It Take For Fluoride To Start Working?
Well, it depends what type of fluoride whitening treatment you’re using. The main application of higher strength fluoride is through a routine treatment at your dentists’ office.
Generally speaking, a single in-office fluoride and teeth whitening session can produce immediate results. But if you're looking for a more gradual and longer lasting effect, then daily at-home teeth whitening treatments are recommended.
How Long Does Fluoride Stay Effective For?
According to the New York City Department of Health, fluoride treatments can last up to six months from application, but for best practice, re-application is suggested more often. This means that by brushing your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride and flossing regularly, as well as having periodic professional applications of fluoride varnish or gel, you will be able to maintain the white smile you desire.
How Long After Fluoride Can I Drink Coffee?
If you’re anything like us, you really enjoy your morning cup of joe. Luckily for you, even a concentrated fluoride treatment, like an in-office dental varnish, shouldn’t prevent you from getting your fix.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it is generally safe to drink beverages such as coffee or tea immediately after a fluoride treatment.
However, maybe don’t dive right into a cup of lemonade! The ADA recommends that acidic drinks (such as lemonade and orange juice) should be avoided for at least 30 minutes following a professional fluoride application in order to help protect the newly treated teeth from acid erosion.
How Long Does A Fluoride Varnish Stay On Your Teeth?
As we just discussed, fluoride treatment is administered In a varnish application in a dental office, so the process will be taken care of by a professional, and the varnish will stay on your teeth and settle in. Usually, this takes around 30 minutes.
What Does Fluoride Do For Teeth In The Long-Run?
While fluoride's short-term benefits are obvious, we are all interested in long-term benefits. Luckily, fluoride can offer a lot of long-term health benefits! In terms of tooth strength and hardness, studies have shown that regular exposure to fluoride helps strengthen the enamel on teeth over time.
Not only does this make them less likely to decay or break down due to wear and tear, but also makes them more resistant to acids found in many foods that can cause damage over time.
Additionally, because it strengthens the enamel layer of teeth, it helps protect against cavities and other dental problems such as gum disease. As such, regular use of fluoride can help ensure that teeth remain healthy, strong and resistant to damage over the long-term.
Does Fluoride Make Your Teeth Yellow?
Now, in the pursuit of a healthy smile, the last thing any of us want is to accidentally discolor our teeth! That's why it is always important to consider whether the products we are using have any side effects. Luckily, if used in consumer products, fluoride does not pose significant risks.
While some studies suggest that high levels of fluoride can cause dental fluorosis (which can lead to yellowing and staining of tooth enamel), such levels would be difficult to achieve through everyday oral hygiene products alone. The American Dental Association also suggests that topical applications of fluoride are safe for adults as well as children over 6 months!
Is There Fluoride In Whitening Strips?
Typically, no. Whitening strips work by bleaching the outer layer of your teeth, also known as enamel, to remove stains and discoloration. The active ingredient in whitening strips is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which works by breaking apart embedded particles of color in the enamel and allowing them to be washed away with saliva.
Can I Use Fluoride Products And Whitening Strips At The Same Time?
If you're anything like most people, you want your morning routine to be quick and easy – so you might be wondering if you can use a fluoride toothpaste alongside whitening strips!
Luckily for you, both options are safe to use together. Whitening strips are designed to remove surface stains from your teeth without affecting the overall health of your smile. Meanwhile, fluoride toothpaste helps prevent cavities by strengthening enamel and fighting bacteria in the mouth.
Using both products together can help keep your teeth healthy while still achieving a bright white smile. The teeth whitening costs are also much lower for this method since fluoride products are inexpensive.
Does Fluoride Darken Tooth Color Over Time?
In addition to yellowing, many of us worry about our teeth losing their natural white color. Fortunately, fluoride has been proven not to lead to darkening of the teeth over time. In fact, it helps protect against discoloration that comes from aging and other factors such as smoking and drinking coffee or tea.
While it is true that fluoride can make some teeth appear whiter in the short term because of its mineralizing properties, studies have shown no evidence that over long-term use, this whitening effect will dissipate or cause any staining or discoloration of the teeth due to prolonged exposure. Fluoride and teeth whitening are inextricably linked; the former improves the latter!
Is There Any Time I Shouldn’t Use Fluoride Toothpaste?
No: there is no time when fluoride toothpaste should not be used. Fluoride is a mineral that helps protect your teeth from cavities and other forms of damage, so it's important to use it regularly for good oral health. You can also get fluoride treatments from your dentist or doctor if you have an especially high risk of developing cavities.
The American Dental Association recommends using toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance containing fluoride twice daily for optimal dental hygiene and protection against cavities. Not only does fluoride whiten teeth, but the reduction in cavities improves your health more generally – so it’s a no-brainer.
If you have any questions about whether or not you should use fluoride toothpaste, consult with your dentist for individualized advice.