From a young age, we’re taught to brush our teeth using toothpaste. Most of us just accept this at face value, but when was the last time you stopped to think about why you need to brush with toothpaste at all? What is it about toothpaste that makes it so important?
Toothpaste contents can be broken down into two categories. Active ingredients are those that are added specifically to help replenish enamel, clean teeth, prevent gum disease, fight cavities, and do other things that form the basis for why toothpaste is useful. Just as important, inactive ingredients play critical roles too, such as ensuring your toothpaste isn’t a liquid and making it palatable.
Fluoride is a very important active ingredient in toothpaste. This mineral is critical in replenishing your tooth enamel, which is the hard outer layer of your tooth. Your enamel is responsible for protecting the soft core of teeth as well as giving them their characteristic white colour. Being the outer layer of teeth, it also has the unfortunate responsibility of taking the brunt of damage caused by things like bacteria and acid. Enamel wears down quickly just through everyday activities like eating and drinking. When it’s time to brush your teeth, fluoridated toothpaste is critically important to replenish lost reserves and rebuild enamel.
What Happens Without Fluoride?
Why do we brush our teeth? First off, brushing is great at physically removing unwanted things from surfaces of teeth. For example, the bristles on your toothbrush are effective at removing bacterial plaques and can also get rid of leftover food debris, even if you brush without toothpaste. However, brushing with fluoridated toothpaste accomplishes more than this. A non-fluoridated toothpaste robs you of the enamel replenishing benefit that fluoride provides. The yellow dentin underneath your teeth can become exposed if your enamel is weakened, which increases your chances of tooth decay and damage to the root while also turning your teeth more yellow. Soft teeth are also prone to developing cavities.
Fluoride in our water has faced controversy in the past, but it certainly does belong in toothpaste. Fluoride-free toothpastes simply aren’t as effective at rebuilding that oh so important layer of enamel. If you have other questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to bring them to our attention! Take a look at the rest of our website or call us at 587-353-5060.