Fluoride or Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?
Fluoride has been a hotly debated topic when it comes to dental care. At truthpaste, we continue to believe that there should be a choice when it comes to your oral care.
As such, truthpaste Original was specifically formulated to give consumers the option of a fluoride free toothpaste. In that same spirit of freedom, we have listened to the many customers that have asked about a fluoride option. After much research and consultation, we are looking forward to launching this new product very soon. In developing truthpaste Fluoride, it was necessary to look into the pros, cons and questions surrounding its place in your oral care routine.
What is fluoride?
Put simply, fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral. It’s found in its element, fluorine, in the crust of the earth where it is released naturally into the environment, primarily through water. To this end, it’s been concluded that natural fluoride intake will differ depending on variables such as geographical location but generally speaking, we will ingest a certain amount of fluoride naturally throughout our lives. You’ll find about 99% of the fluoride in your body in either your teeth or bones.
Why is fluoride in water?
On moving to Colorado Springs, young dental practitioner Frederik McKay noted residents had stained and weakened teeth. This anomaly is what sparked the research into fluoride and its effect on oral health in the early twentieth century. Longitudinal studies spanning decades led scientists to the conclusion that fluoride in drinking water had a profound effect on both developing, and adult teeth. In the 1940s, The Commission of Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first city worldwide to fluoridate its water supply. In research spanning over a decade, 60% of the study group showed markedly less caries (cavities) and stronger tooth enamel. It was this research that paved the way for fluoride being an active ingredient in many toothpastes and mouthwashes that are available today.
How fluoride works
Fluoride in your saliva, protects the tooth enamel by bonding with the calcium and phosphate there. It has two primary benefits for your teeth: Firstly enamel remineralisation. This means that fluoride absorbed by the enamel attracts all sorts of minerals which help keep the enamel hard. The second main benefit of fluoride is that it replaces some of the hydroxyapatite (this is what forms the hard enamel on your teeth!) with fluorapatite. Fluorapatite is more resistant to acids and bacteria that cause cavities.
Is fluoride bad for you?
This is where it is useful to consult with your dentist and to undertake your own research. It is widely agreed among dental practitioners that using fluoride in your oral hygiene routine is a positive thing. As with many natural remedies, there is concern about possible side effects and harm.
Fluorosis - described as “very fine pearly white lines or flecking on the surface of the teeth. Severe fluorosis can cause the tooth's enamel to become pitted or discoloured.” This is a condition that occurs when developing teeth are overly exposed to fluoride whilst still developing, usually in children under 8 years who are growing their adult teeth.
Fluoride toxicity - Realistically, it is very rarely found in adults in developed parts of the world. 80% of cases are found in children under the age of six due to ingesting toothpaste or mouthwash containing fluoride.
Largely, the concern is that fluoride, if taken in excess systematically, as opposed to topically (i.e. in toothpastes and mouthwash) can cause the above and other adverse effects.
Is fluoride safe?
For children under the age of three, the recommended dose is 0.7mg daily, for women 3 mg and for men 4 mg. Paul Connett, PhD argues in ‘50 Reasons To Oppose Fluoridation’ that fluoride can easily accumulate in the body and we have no real control over the amount we are ingesting. He goes on to argue that “Not a single biological process has been shown to require fluoride. On the contrary there is extensive evidence that fluoride can interfere with many important biological processes.”.
Whilst it is true that fluoride in excess can potentially have an adverse effect on some individuals, this would need to be in somewhat excessive amounts. Several peer reviewed studies can be found on the NHS website. The conclusion here is that fluorosis is uncommon in the UK.
Around 5.8 million people in the UK have fluoride added to their water supply and ongoing research suggests that the population benefits from this. Levels are strictly regulated by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). You can find out about your own area by contacting your water supplier.
Fluoride or non-fluoride toothpaste?
At truthpaste, we wholeheartedly feel that the choice should be with you, the consumer. When first developing our formula, the idea was to create an option for those who choose not to use fluoride. From the wonderful reviews that we received, it was clear that a great many customers have found that truthpaste has been doing a sterling job of keeping their whole mouths clean and ‘dentist fresh’
Since we first launched in 2015, we have had a lot of requests and queries about whether we would be developing a fluoride alternative. If you’ve been keeping an eye on us on social media, you will know that we are very excited to be launching our truthpaste fluoride very soon.
We recommend always consulting with your dentist or pharmacy and doing your own research to find what is right for you and your family. We remain honest about all of our natural ingredients and look forward to providing our wonderful truthpaste customers with even more choice going forwards.
1. Macrae R, Robinson RK, Sadler MJ. Encyclopaedia of food science, food technology and nutrition. Academic Press; London, UK: 1993. p. 1932.
2. Francis A. Arnold, Jr. (1957) Grand Rapids Fluoridation Study- Results Pertaining to the Eleventh Year or Fluoridation. Am J Public Health Nations Health. 1957 May; 47(5): 539–545.
4. Martínez-Mier EA. Fluoride: its metabolism, toxicity, and role in dental health. J Evidence Based Complementary Altern Med. 2012;17:28–32. doi: 10.1177/2156587211428076.
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