Our Toothpaste Doesn’t Have Fluoride. Here’s Why.
If you compare our toothpaste to most of the others on store shelves, you’ll see that something is missing: fluoride. This was a conscious choice, and we’re happy to explain why.
But first, what exactly is fluoride?
It’s really just a naturally occurring mineral found in many water sources. It’s also added to many oral care products with the assertion that it can help teeth. It has some upsides for teeth, but its presence seems to create more confusion than benefit.
Why we don’t use fluoride
Despite many dental companies touting the benefits of fluoride in toothpaste, most toothpastes don’t actually have enough of the mineral to do any significant good for your mouth.
“While fluoride is proven to be effective in remineralizing teeth, it doesn’t have a strong enough concentration in toothpaste in order to be effective,” writes Dr. Mark Burhenne, DDS.
Why isn’t there a higher concentration of fluoride? The answer is pretty simple, actually. The FDA doesn’t allow it because a sufficient concentration could damage developing teeth if swallowed, writes Burhenne.
Plus, there are some serious risks involved if too much fluoride is consumed, like tooth discoloration, stomach problems and skin rashes. The potential for harm from fluoride was actually the initial reason we cut it from our toothpaste formula.
While fluoride has been deemed safe in moderate amounts, too much can lead to weakened bones and ligaments, among other problems (keep in mind this happens from pretty huge amounts of fluoride or to pregnant women, who are more vulnerable to the mineral’s negative side effects).
What research tells us
The end goals of fluoride toothpaste are decay prevention and tooth remineralization, or rebuilding the calcium and phosphate in enamel that has been worn down over time. But with how fluoride toothpastes are used, neither can be accomplished. In order for decay-preventing properties to take effect, the teeth’s outer layer of biofilm needs to be removed so the fluoride can be absorbed. You’d have to brush twice to remove the biofilm and then give the fluoride the chance to be absorbed. But even then, the concentration isn’t strong enough for effective topical application.
Decay prevention is more likely to come from simply drinking fluoridated water, as the mineral is absorbed through your teeth and the rest of your body. The Centers for Disease Control went as far as calling water fluoridation one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.
And forget about remineralizing teeth with normal fluoride toothpaste. Only prescription-strength products like certain liquid gels have a high enough fluoride concentration to cause remineralization.
If not fluoride, then what?
There are plenty of other effective ingredients in our toothpaste. Here are a few.
- Xylitol – This sugar alternative has decay-preventing qualities, which is why it’s present in products like chewing gum. The bacteria that cause cavities can’t use xylitol for growth, so it can reduce their presence while repairing enamel.
- Mentha Piperita Essential Oil – Made from peppermint leaves, this oil has been proven to have decay-preventative qualities. It also fights bad breath and is an anti-inflammatory.
- Mentha Viridis Oil – An oil derived from spearmint plants that works as a disinfectant.
- Gaultheria Procumberis Oil – This oil comes from North American wintergreen trees, and it can be used as an oral antiseptic.
Making fluoride work harder for you
Of course, fluoride does have some benefits for teeth. It can help prevent decay and remineralize teeth, when used effectively. Sometimes your teeth just can’t take in the mineral to make it work for them.
Perhaps the best and simplest way to improve fluoride uptake is mouthwash. Swishing around an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash works first by cleaning the teeth, removing the biofilm that can damage teeth over time and prevent fluoride from getting absorbed. Then, in the latter part of swishing, the newly cleaned teeth absorb the fluoride on all sides.
Prefer a more natural alternative to fluoride or alcohol-based mouthwash?
Consider oil pulling. It’s an ancient Ayurvedic health practice that works like mouthwash, but without all the chemicals or the risk of mouthwash killing good bacteria in your mouth. Coconut oil, in particular, contains antioxidant Vitamin E, as well as lauric acid, which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Find out what’s best for you
Like all medical care, dental care is best when it’s personalized. Talk to your dentist about what will be the most effective and safest option for you.
Just remember, there are plenty of ways to prevent tooth decay and to remineralize those pearly whites.