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Sunday, 3 June 2018

Do I Need A High Fluoride Toothpaste?

Dr. Vincent Wan


There’s a toothpaste available that is great at preventing tooth decay.  It is anti-bacterial and makes teeth stronger and more resistant to breaking down.  It’s made by leading oral hygiene product brand, Colgate.  However, you’ve probably never heard of it.  It’s called Neutrafluor 5000 Plus.

The name Neutrafluor 5000 Plus is a strange one.  It sounds like a machine or robot name.  It’s not all that enticing coming from a marketing point of view.  However, it’s not meant for marketing.  You cannot find this product on the shelves at your local supermarket or variety store.  It is sold at pharmacies or directly from your dentist only.  It is also more expensive that regular toothpaste.  In fact, it should only be used after assessment and recommendation by your dentist.

The name Neutrafluor 5000 Plus is more for the dentist rather than the patient.  It tells the dentist exactly what is in the product.  Neutrafluor stands for neutral fluoride as opposed to acidulated fluoride.  Fluoride is proven in research to make teeth stronger and more resistant to decay, as well as being anti-bacterial.  Acid roughens tooth structure for the fluoride to absorb better into it.  However, too much acid can wear away the enamel and permanently damage it.  So for products used at home away from your dentist’s direct supervision, a neutral product is much safer than an acidulated one.

The 5000 means 5000 parts per million fluoride or approximately 5 times the amount of fluoride in regular toothpaste.  This higher amount of fluoride is what makes this toothpaste extra good at protecting at risk tooth structure.  However, this higher amount of fluoride also means the toothpaste cannot be used in young children and needs to be recommended by your dentist for your specific needs.  Too much fluoride like too much of anything else can make you sick.  The Plus part of the name is for the other ingredients that make this product into a toothpaste.  These control flavour, consistency, foaming and cleaning properties of the toothpaste.

If you are at higher risk of tooth decay, your dentist may recommend you use Colgate Neutrafluor 5000 Plus toothpaste instead of regular toothpaste.  It may reduce your need for fillings and other dental work.