How Do You Know If Your Teeth Need Extra Fluoride?

Are your teeth getting enough fluoride? Even if they are, this doesn't mean they won't need the occasional fluoride boost. However, because excessive fluoride can in fact be harmful to teeth, you should only increase your fluoride intake if recommended by your dentist. Is this something you should be asking about at your next checkup?


Don't jump to any conclusions just yet, but excessively sensitive teeth (particularly to hot and cold foods and drinks) can be a sign that your teeth are losing mineralisation. The dental enamel that forms the protective outer layer of your teeth is highly-mineralised, and once it corrodes, it's gone forever—making your teeth more vulnerable to decay.


Enamel cannot regrow itself, but it can be given a helping hand to remineralise, and this requires fluoride. For most people, the low levels of fluoride in their toothpaste and drinking water will be sufficient to maintain mineralisation, along with the fluoride treatment that happens during a dental checkup. Excessively sensitive teeth can suggest thinning enamel, meaning the temperature of your food and drink is being felt by the tooth's nerve.

Higher Concentration

This sensitivity should be mentioned to your dentist. They may also note other areas of enamel deficiency on your teeth, which is a precursor to tooth decay. For some patients, your dentist will recommend a toothpaste with a higher concentration of fluoride to use at home, in addition to any fluoride treatment they'll perform during your checkup. You'll need to visit a pharmacy to get this toothpaste.

Pharmacy Medication

Toothpastes with a high concentration of fluoride are often classified as a pharmacist only medication, as in they're only available from behind the counter. The pharmacist will confirm that you know the details of the product (and that you're using it under a professional recommendation). No prescription is required, and talking to the pharmacist is simply a safeguard to ensure that people don't self-medicate with fluoride.


Excess fluoride when it's not required can lead to a condition called fluorosis. White spots may form on the teeth, which can then become chalky and brittle. Although a person may attempt to take extra fluoride to strengthen the teeth, the opposite effect can occur when the tooth already has healthy mineralisation. 

Temporary Treatment

If a high concentration fluoride toothpaste is recommended, it's likely that your dentist will only suggest a single course of treatment (you'll use it until the tube is empty). Once your teeth have remineralised, an ongoing intake of this heightened level of fluoride will eventually lead to fluorosis. 

Extra fluoride can have a place in someone's oral health routine. But its place will only be temporary, and should only happen when recommended by a dentist. Speak to a dentist near you to learn more.