If you’re suffering from the early onset of tooth decay, then you might benefit from using a prescription-strength toothpaste. In this blog, we look at why a prescription is required for high fluoride toothpaste, and how you can buy this type of toothpaste online.

What is high fluoride toothpaste?

High fluoride toothpaste contains around four times more fluoride than the toothpaste available to buy off the shelf in supermarkets. Fluoride is a natural mineral found in water that has been proven to prevent tooth decay in adults.

All toothpastes contain some fluoride in small amounts – it’s measured in parts per million (PPM) and can be found on the side of the box. Prescription-strength fluoride toothpastes contain around 5000ppm of sodium fluoride.

What is 5000ppm toothpaste used for?

Dentists often prescribe fluoride toothpaste for patients who are at risk of developing tooth decay. According to the Oral Health Foundation, high risk patients include those who:

  • Have a history of dental caries (cavities)
  • Suffer with a dry mouth or taking medication which causes a dry mouth
  • Have braces fitted
  • Have a high-sugar diet or diabetes
  • Have poor oral health and do not regularly visit their dentist

Tooth decay occurs when the sticky film (plaque) that coats your teeth reacts with the acid in your food and starts to wear away the enamel on your teeth. This can eventually lead to cavities – tiny holes in your teeth that expose the soft, sensitive pulp inside.

Prescription high fluoride toothpaste works by repairing the tooth’s enamel, also known as remineralisation. This helps to protect your teeth from further damage and relieves the sharp, sudden pain that’s associated with sensitive teeth.

Why do you need a prescription?

Toothpastes with high amounts of fluoride are only available on prescription from your dentist or a private pharmacy. This is because it has a much higher concentration of fluoride than standard toothpaste, which isn’t suitable for everyone.

High fluoride toothpaste is not suitable for children under 16, and adults should not use it in conjunction with any other fluoride treatment. That includes fluoride drops, tablets, chewing gum, gels or varnishes, as well as fluoridated water and salt.

Several areas of England have fluoride added to their drinking water. As many as 5.8 million people receive water with higher amounts of fluoride (1mg per litre). Check the fluoride levels in your area before you start using prescription-strength toothpaste.

Fluoride is generally considered to be quite safe but too much of it can lead to a condition called dental fluorosis. In severe cases, it can cause a pitting or discolouration of the tooth’s enamel, though this is rarely seen in the UK.

brush teeth

How to use high fluoride toothpaste

Prescription-strength high fluoride toothpaste should be used in place of your regular toothpaste. We recommend following these guidelines:

  • Brush your teeth three times a day, preferably after meals
  • Use 2cms of toothpaste – that’s around 3 to 5 milligrams of fluoride
  • Brush vertically from the gum to the tip of the tooth
  • Spit out any excess foam and try not to swallow

It should take you around three minutes to brush your teeth. Maintaining good dental health can significantly reduce your risk of tooth decay.

Sodium fluoride 5000ppm toothpaste isn’t suitable for children under 16 years of age. Dental professionals recommend that:

  • Children under 3 years old should brush twice a day using a smear of toothpaste that contains at least 1,000ppm fluoride
  • Children aged 3 – 6 should brush twice a day using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with more than 1,000ppm of fluoride

If you are worried about your child’s teeth and you think they may be at risk of developing cavities, make an appointment to see a dentist. You can find a dentist near you on the NHS website

Can you buy prescription toothpaste?

It is possible to buy prescription toothpaste from a private, registered pharmacy without seeing a dentist. Post My Meds stock Sodium Fluoride 5,000ppm Toothpaste and its branded equivalent, Colgate Duraphat 5,000ppm. Before you can buy this type of toothpaste online, you will be asked to complete a short online consultation.

Prescription-only items can only be sold after an assessment by a healthcare professional. Our trained pharmacists will ask you about your symptoms and any other medication you are currently taking. Once they’ve assessed your suitability to use sodium fluoride toothpaste, your order will be processed and dispatched.

Although all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it should not be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please speak to your doctor.

Authored Oct 12, 2021 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
Reviewed Oct 11, 2021 by Prabjeet Saundh, MPharm