Tooth Decay: do I need prescription toothpaste?

My dentist has recommended a new toothpaste - Duraphat 2800 Fluoride Toothpaste. It is apparently only available on prescription. Are there any drawbacks or side effects from using it?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Duraphat 2800 toothpaste contains between two and three times as much fluoride as ordinary fluorinated toothpaste. It is designed to prevent dental decay in people who are at particularly high risk of dental problems. A few studies have shown that it is more effective than ordinary-strength toothpaste. I'm not quite sure why it is only available on prescription from dentists. It is definitely not recommended for children under the age of 10. If children get too much fluoride, there is a risk that their teeth will become permanently mottled or discoloured. As long as you use the high-strength toothpaste according to your dentist's recommendations, there shouldn't be any drawbacks or side effects. And it may well lead to healthier teeth in the long term.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.

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