Why Avoid Fluoride in Toothpaste? (5 Reasons & Alternatives)

Fluoride has long been held up as a superstar ingredient for preventing cavities and strengthening tooth enamel. Widely used in dental care products, it’s even added to water supplies in many places around the world!

However, thanks to growing scrutiny of the many chemicals we put into our bodies, there have been concerns about fluoride’s potential side effects. 

Among health-conscious individuals, there’s an increased focus on the possible health risks associated with fluoride – particularly in young children and when used excessively.

Whether you’re worried about your child accidentally ingesting high levels of fluoride and damaging their enamel, or you prefer natural products, in this post, we’ll answer the question: why avoid fluoride in toothpaste?

We’ll look at why some people now consider fluoride to come with unacceptable health risks and shine a spotlight on viable alternatives. 

This includes the trailblazing, scientifically backed ingredient nano-hydroxyapatite (n-Ha), the active ingredient in a range of alternative oral care products. 

For those who are keen to make an informed decision about the dental care of themselves and their families, we’ll help you make informed choices as well as weigh up the potential risks and benefits of different products on the market! 

In this article we’ll cover:

  • Five reasons why you shouldn’t use fluoride toothpaste
  • Why you might want to use fluoride-containing toothpaste
  • Reasons why you should choose a fluoride-free toothpaste
  • Our top seven fluoride-free alternative options for toothpaste

Ready to dive in? Let’s get into it!

Why Avoid Fluoride in Toothpaste - Family Brushing Together

Why Is Fluoride in Toothpaste Bad for You?

Fluoride may be the most common ingredient associated with preventing tooth decay, but it comes with a raft of risk factors and health concerns. More and more people are looking for alternatives and scrutinizing why it’s so prevalent in their oral care products. 

Let’s look a little closer at some of the issues fluoride can cause:

#1 Ingesting Too Much Fluoride Can Cause Dental Fluorosis

A 2019 CDC study found that fluoride is linked to the development of dental fluorosis. This is a dental defect that causes tooth enamel to become hypomineralized. 

While mostly cosmetic — causing unsightly discoloration of the teeth — in severe cases, it may also weaken the tooth’s structure and lead to physical damage.

High levels of fluoride in the early years of life (up to about age eight) are a risk factor for developing dental fluorosis, as this is when teeth are still forming.

#2 Swallowing Fluoride Toothpaste Can Lead to Gastrointestinal Issues

It’s relatively common for young children and even some adults to swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it out. When the toothpaste contains fluoride, this can cause gastrointestinal issues, including:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This study from the US National Library of Medicine even found that in severe cases, swallowing fluoride can lead to renal and cardiac dysfunction, coma, and ultimately death.

#3 Excessive Fluoride Exposure May Lead to Skeletal Fluorosis

Continued exposure to high levels of fluoride can cause a rare condition called skeletal fluorosis, which is caused by an accumulation of fluoride in the body. 

Skeletal fluorosis is a metabolic bone disease condition. Primarily caused by excessive fluoride levels in drinking water, it may also occur from any excess intake of fluoride, including swallowing fluoride toothpaste.

The disease in its early stages weakens the bones in your body, which can affect mobility. In more severe cases, it causes extreme pain in joints and bones. While there is no treatment for skeletal fluorosis, it may be reversed by stopping fluoride intake in lesser cases.

#4 Some People May Be More Sensitive to Fluoride

Everyone’s body is different, and some people are more sensitive to certain compounds than others. 

This is true for fluoride, as well — some individuals may have a much lower tolerance. This shows the importance of not using a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to fluoride and treating everyone as individuals. 

Information from the Physicians Desk Reference shows that in hypersensitive individuals, fluoride can cause skin issues, including atopic dermatitis, eczema, or hives. Gastric complaints, headaches, and weakness have also been reported.

#5 High Fluoride Intake During Tooth Development Can Affect Enamel

Taking in too much fluoride during childhood when the tooth enamel is developing can cause issues with the enamel strength. 

Enamel irregularities, particularly poor mineralization, are a risk factor for future dental issues such as an increased risk of cavities. Individuals need to make informed decisions regarding their oral care and not just rely on outdated, incorrect information. 

There are alternatives out there, and Boka champions the use of fluoride alternatives such as nano-hydroxyapatite (n-Ha). This provides a scientifically proven and safe option for those wary of traditional fluoride-based toothpastes. 

Counterarguments for Using Fluoride Toothpaste

While there are some serious concerns about fluoride use in toothpaste, there are still many people who advocate for the use of fluoride in toothpaste. 

There is still a scientific consensus that fluoride is effective in preventing tooth decay and improving oral health in general. 

A lot of evidence exists to substantiate the cavity-preventing benefits of fluoride; studies have found the use of fluoride strengthens enamel and can even stop the damage that has already started in teeth.

Fluoride toothpaste is also backed by several scientific bodies around the world, including the American Dental Association and the World Health Organization.

Why Should You Choose Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?

While fluoride has been the standard for maintaining dental health for decades, there are better, less risky options available! 

There are more fluoride-free alternatives on the market than ever, which is great news for anyone wanting to protect their health and that of their family, while still promoting strong, healthy teeth. 

Let’s dive deeper and take a look at why you should choose a fluoride-free toothpaste!

Fluoride-free toothpaste is still effective

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about fluoride-free toothpaste, with some dentists implying that it doesn’t prevent cavities. This simply isn’t true — most fluoride-free toothpastes are effective at preventing cavities, fighting bacteria, and improving overall oral hygiene. 

A study from the US National Library of Medicine even found that fluoride-free toothpaste containing CPP-ACP or n-Ha for children could be used alternatively in case of parents’ concern of fluoride dosage and toxicity, especially in young children under 6 years of age.

Nano-hydroxyapatite (n-Ha) is an alternative active ingredient

For those concerned about fluoride intake and still wanting a toothpaste backed by science, n-Ha is perfect. It’s a compound found in your tooth enamel and the use of it in toothpaste aids in remineralizing and strengthening your teeth. It’s also very effective when it comes to preventing cavities and decay. 

Reduces sensitivity

People with sensitive teeth often find fluoride toothpaste makes their problem worse. Fluoride-free options such as n-Ha, baking soda or herbal toothpastes can be the perfect alternative. They can help to maintain the enamel and seal the tubules in the teeth that lead to the nerves, which helps prevent sensitivity to temperature changes. 

Provides anti-cavity protection

Fluoride is not the only option for cavity protection! Some scientific backed studies showed that fluoride-free toothpaste, such as those containing xylitol or essential oils, prevents cavities through remineralization and generally creates a healthy oral environment. 

Promotes remineralization

As per recent research published in US National Library of Medicine, n-Ha containing toothpaste is ideal for remineralization. The compound has been demonstrated to aid in restoring minerals in the tooth enamel, which offers protection from tooth decay and reverses early signs of damage.

Concerns about excessive fluoride intake

For those worried about health risks associated with fluoride, particularly fluorosis, fluoride-free toothpaste is a no-brainer! Studies found that toothpaste containing essential oils or herbal extracts can have equivalent preventive powers of fluoride, with none of the health risks.

Personal preference for natural or alternative ingredients

Many people are selective about what they put in their bodies and prefer to opt for natural ingredients. Fluoride-free toothpaste is ideal for this, providing effective dental care with none of the chemicals. 

Avoiding synthetic additives

If you want to avoid synthetic additives, then using fluoride-free toothpaste is a great option. Many toothpastes contain synthetic ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and triclosan, which can be harmful to your health and the environment. Boka’s fluoride-free toothpaste range avoids synthetic additives, opting for natural, organic ingredients instead.

Reducing potential environmental impact

If you choose a fluoride-free toothpaste, in most cases, you’re choosing a toothpaste made with natural, eco-friendly ingredients. This not only protects your oral health but works towards preventing negative environmental impacts.

Reducing the risk of allergic reactions

Some people are allergic to fluoride. A research study found that fluoride-free toothpaste avoids these issues and maintains a safe, effective oral health regime.

Fluoride-Free Alternative Toothpaste Options

Choosing fluoride-free toothpaste options doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your dental health. There are many alternatives, allowing you to choose a toothpaste that aligns with your preferences and values while still caring for your teeth.

Fluoride-free toothpaste typically relies on alternative ingredients for cleaning and oral hygiene. These may include nano-hydroxyapatite (n-Ha), charcoal, baking soda, calcium carbonate, silica, herbal extracts, essential oils, and other natural or synthetic abrasives and cleaning agents.

Let’s look a little closer at some of the alternatives. 

Nano-Hydroxyapatite (n-Ha) Toothpaste

This is the definite frontrunner when it comes to science-backed fluoride-free toothpaste. With a ton of benefits, n-Ha toothpastes are encouraging more and more people to make the switch from fluoride. 

Benefits include:

  • Promotes enamel remineralization: n-Ha can remineralize tooth enamel, warding off tooth decay and repairing damage.
  • Reduces sensitivity and strengthens teeth: Great news for those with sensitive teeth — n-Ha helps to strengthen your teeth from within, reducing sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • It’s biocompatible and non-toxic: Fluoride at high concentrations causes neurotoxicity, which is considered one of the major disadvantages of fluoride containing toothpaste. However, n-Ha is biocompatible, meaning that your body identifies as a part of itself.

    If you’re looking to give n-Ha toothpaste a try, why not try something from Boka’s range? Not only is Boka a trusted brand that’s revolutionizing dental care, there’s a huge variety of flavors to suit every taste – ranging from Ela Mint to Lemon Lavender. 

    Toothpaste containing n-Ha instead of fluoride is increasingly popular with dentists as well. According to Dr. Mark Burhenne, DDS: 

    “I now recommend toothpaste containing nano-hydroxyapatite particles. They outperform fluoride when compared side by side, and the best part is that they’re completely non-toxic. My preferred nano-hydroxyapatite toothpaste is Boka’s Ela Mint Toothpaste.”

    Charcoal Toothpaste

    Known for its whitening properties, charcoal toothpaste uses activated charcoal (a natural ingredient) to help remove stains and whiten your teeth. This is best saved for an occasional toothpaste, however, as using it too often can be abrasive

    Herbal Toothpaste

    Herbal toothpaste uses natural ingredients, such as neem, fennel, mint, or cinnamon. They’re a great option for those looking to avoid synthetic chemicals, although they don’t have the same scientifically proven properties as n-Ha toothpaste. 

    Baking Soda Toothpaste

    Another great choice for whitening, baking soda has been used as a toothpaste ingredient for over a century. As well as possessing whitening benefits, the natural alkaline properties help prevent cavities by neutralizing acids in the mouth. 

    Clay-Based Toothpaste

    For a gentle yet thorough clean, clay-based toothpaste removes toxins from the mouth. It reacts with water to attract dirt and other particles that build up in the mouth from eating, helping to keep your mouth fresh and clean. 

    Essential Oil Toothpaste

    Many essential oils have natural antibacterial properties, making them an obvious choice for natural toothpaste. Peppermint oil and tea tree oil are commonly chosen, as they not only prevent bacteria growth but keep your mouth feeling fresh and clean.

    Natural Toothpaste with Xylitol

    Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute and a popular ingredient in natural toothpaste. It helps to prevent the growth of bacteria, which prevents cavities and contributes to overall oral health.

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