Snob Essentials

Fluoride: Friend or Foe?

I don’t like mint which makes finding a toothpaste my taste-buds are OK with a bit of a challenge. Most toothpastes that aren’t mint flavored are either designed with kids in mind (ie they have Sesame Street and the likes on the packaging) or they’re natural toothpastes formulated without fluoride. A bunch of popular natural brands make toothpastes that fall in the latter category – Toms of Maine, Burt’s Bees, and the recently launched Vitacare. Most of these brands claim that fluoride is toxic and it’s better to opt for natural ingredients like cranberry extracts and xylitol to help prevent plaque, tartar, and cavities. Is this marketing fluff or is fluoride really toxic? And if fluoride is not toxic, is it safe to use toothpaste formulated without it? To find out I rung up my dentist, Dr. Robert Deutch, DDS. He told me that he would absolutely NOT recommend opting for any toothpaste that doesn’t contain fluoride. He also told me that claiming fluoride is dangerous is more or less ridiculous as the only way it would be toxic would be if you literally ate a tube of toothpaste. No natural ingredient, he told me, is as effective as fluoride when it comes to preventing tooth decay. If you really want to use a toothpaste that’s made without fluoride he says that you’d have to follow it up with some sort of mouth wash that has fluoride for optimal tooth decay prevention. Lastly he told me it’s completely safe to use any toothpaste targeted at young children — as long as it has fluoride!

Lesson learned: when shopping for toothpaste make sure you buy one with fluoride. Don’t be fooled by companies that tell you that fluoride is toxic as that only applies when it’s ingested in large quantities and when ingested in large quantities there are countless “safe” things that can be toxic! Plus no one is eating toothpaste! Even young children would have to eat way more than any child would for it to be dangerous.


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