Fluoride toothpaste has been recommended by dentists for decades. It’s seen as the gold standard. But many people are nervous about fluoride, because of the risk of fluorosis (a weakening of bones and ligaments) and looking for alternatives. Hydroxyapatite is a natural alternative, but is it any better? And will it still give all the benefits of a fluoride toothpaste?
Fluoride toothpastes work hard.
When harmful bacteria appear in the mouth, it creates an acidic environment, which can strip away healthy calcium and phospahtes on the surface of teeth. Fluoride is a naturally found element and in toothpaste it works by building a stronger, more acid resistant tooth surface. It does not cure tooth decay. Fluoride is not meant to be ingested. Higher doses of fluoride are seen to be possibly unsafe and can weaken bones and ligaments. The amount you’re likely to use in your toothpaste, under 20mg, is safe.
Hydroxyapatite – the new kid on the block.
Hydroxyapatite is a natural form of calcium that makes up 97% of our tooth enamel. The remaining 3% being made up of collagen, water and proteins. Our mouths recognise hydroxyapatite, seeing as it’s the same material as our teeth, it’s absorbed by the teeth and fills in the little fissures and gaps that bacteria acids have made. It can insert into really small spaces, meaning remineralization can work from the root up. It is completely natural, with no side effects.
Hydroxyapatite – natural, non-toxic, teeth whitener.
Firstly, hydroxyapatite keeps the oral microbiome in it’s natural state, it prevents bacteria from attaching to enamel as opposed to fluoride that kills bacteria. Unfortunately, fluoride kills the good and the bad stuff. Hydroxyapatite strengthens tooth enamel, and there are no side effects, it’s definitely safe enough for kids to use. It also whitens teeth, without using any abrasive chemicals.
Fluoride in the water supply.
Fluoride causes a lot of debate and heated dinner table discussion, primarily because it was added into the Australian water supply over 50 years ago. This happened to help with the growing levels of tooth decay in the population. Interestingly, dental decay has only existed in it’s current form for about 200 years – yep, you guessed it – exactly when our diets transformed into the global business that food is today and we started eating outside of our locally farmed areas.
Bad diet causes tooth decay.
And unfortunately adding fluoride to our water supply as a quick fix hasn’t worked. The Australian Dental Association still considers tooth decay one of the country’s most prevalent diseases. This has nothing to do with whether or not there’s fluoride in the water, it’s our diet. Refined sugars and processed carbohydrates are at the heart of the problem. This diet results in the rapid increase of microbes which directly result in the destruction of our tooth surface.
Choosing between fluoride and hydroxyapatite is like picking your favourite band-aid. What causes tooth decay is a bad diet. But until that’s under control we prefer hydroxyapatite toothpaste. It does the same job as fluoride but with no nasty side effects or worries.
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