Efficacy of fluoride as a cariostatic agent is a well-established fact. Last few decades have seen a dramatic decline in dental decay throughout the world. As a systematic approach, fluoride is added to the drinking water to prevent dental decay but topical application using toothpaste has been more effective against dental caries, therefore fluoride is added to toothpaste in the form of sodium fluoride and sodium monofluorophosphate. Based on the fact that excessive exposure to fluoride causes dental fluorosis and lower amount makes toothpaste ineffective against dental caries, so the amount of fluoride in the toothpaste must be regulated. Therefore, in the present study, toothpastes including local and imported brands sold in Karachi have been collected and analyzed for their fluoride contents. In a total of 55 samples, amount of fluoride ranged from 10 to 1,674 ppm in local samples and in imported brands it ranged from 426 to 1,444 ppm. Eighty-two percent of the local brands fell short of 1,000 ppm fluoride which is the lower limit of fluoride in toothpaste as recommended by WHO. A large amount of variations has been observed in acclaimed fluoride levels and analyzed fluoride level; furthermore, 70% of the local samples have not even mentioned the content of fluoride in their brands. In the context of increasing number of cases of dental decay in Karachi, these results provide baseline data to the authorities concerned to regulate the fluoride levels in toothpaste.

Tahir Rafique, Faisal Soomro, Sajid Iqbal, Muhammad Afzal and Khaula Shirin