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Fluoride free or fluoridated toothpaste - you decide

Posted on November 24, 2015 by ORLI

We offer a fluoride free, natural tooth paste alternative to the common commercial fluoridated toothpaste often laced with ingredients you wouldn't want to put anywhere near your mouth such as titanium dioxide, glycerin, PEG and sodium laurel sulphate just to name a few of them.

Fluoride is a contentious topic. It is used to prevent cavities but there is increasing research which offers a solid counter argument to that claim. There is a wealth of articles on the pros and cons of fluoride and it is always a good idea to be aware of what goes into our drinking water or everyday toothpaste. 

We are all well versed with the benefits of fluoride but here are some interesting facts to consider:

Fluoride is a highly toxic substance. Consider, for example, the poison warning that the FDA now requires on all fluoride toothpastes sold in the U.S. 

In terms of acute toxicity (i.e., the dose that can cause immediate toxic consequences), fluoride is more toxic than lead, but slightly less toxic than arsenic. This is why fluoride has long been used in rodenticides and pesticides. Fluoride has its roots in World War II research into weapons of mass destruction. Massive quantities of fluoride were essential for the manufacture of bomb-grade uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons throughout the Cold War. Post-WWII, fluoride was a popular form of rat poison. 

Over-ingestion of fluoridated dental products–including fluoride gelsfluoride supplements, and fluoridated water can cause serious poisoning incidents, including death. In the US, fluoride-containing toothpastes now come with a health warning and information on how to contact your local poisons control office in the event of accidental ingestion. 

Current toothpaste formulations do contain sufficient fluoride to exceed the permitted toxic dose for young children. For instance, a 10-kg (22 pound) child who ingests 50 mg of fluoride  will have ingested a probably toxic dose. Put simply, this means that there is enough fluoride in half of the average 100-mg tube of toothpaste to kill a small child.

The debate today, however, is not about fluoride’s acute toxicity, but its chronic toxicity (i.e., the dose of fluoride that if regularly consumed over an extended period of time can cause adverse effects).

The largest survey ever conducted in the US (over 39,000 children from 84 communities) by the National Institute of Dental Research showed little difference in tooth decay among children in fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities (Hileman 1989). According to NIDR researchers, the study found an average difference of only 0.6 DMFS (Decayed, Missing, and Filled Surfaces) in the permanent teeth of children aged 5-17 residing their entire lives in either fluoridated or unfluoridated areas (Brunelle & Carlos, 1990). This difference is less than one tooth surface, and less than 1% of the 100+ tooth surfaces available in a child’s mouth. Large surveys from three Australian states have found even less of a benefit, with decay reductions ranging from 0 to 0.3 of one permanent tooth surface (Spencer 1996; Armfield & Spencer 2004). None of these studies have allowed for the possible delayed eruption of the teeth that may be caused by exposure to fluoride, for which there is some evidence (Komarek 2005). A one-year delay in eruption of the permanent teeth would eliminate the very small benefit recorded in these modern studies.

NIH-funded study on individual fluoride ingestion and tooth decay found no significant correlation. A multi-million dollar, U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study found no significant relationship between tooth decay and fluoride intake among children. (Warren 2009) This is the first time tooth decay has been investigated as a function of individual exposure (as opposed to mere residence in a fluoridated community).

Tooth decay does not go up when fluoridation is stopped. Where fluoridation has been discontinued in communities from Canada, the former East Germany, Cuba and Finland, dental decay has not increased but has generally continued to decrease (Maupomé 2001; Kunzel & Fischer, 1997, 2000; Kunzel 2000; Seppa 2000).

Tooth decay was coming down before fluoridation started. Modern research shows that decay rates were coming down before fluoridation was introduced in Australia and New Zealand and have continued to decline even after its benefits would have been maximized. (Colquhoun 1997; Diesendorf 1986). As the following figure indicates, many other factors are responsible for the decline of tooth decay that has been universally reported throughout the western world.

Fluoride accumulates in the body. Healthy adult kidneys excrete 50 to 60% of the fluoride ingested each day (Marier & Rose 1971). The remainder accumulates in the body, largely in calcifying tissues such as the bones and pineal gland (Luke 1997, 2001). Infants and children excrete less fluoride from their kidneys and take up to 80% of ingested fluoride into their bones (Ekstrand 1994). The fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime (NRC 2006).

No disease, not even tooth decay, is caused by a “fluoride deficiency.”(NRC 1993; Institute of Medicine 1997, NRC 2006). 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. Fluoride interferes with numerous enzymes (Waldbott 1978). In combination with aluminum, fluoride interferes with G-proteins (Bigay 1985, 1987). Such interactions give aluminum-fluoride complexes the potential to interfere with signals from growth factors, hormones and neurotransmitters (Strunecka & Patocka 1999; Li 2003). More and more studies indicate that fluoride can interfere with biochemistry in fundamental ways (Barbier 2010). 

Considering that no biological process has been shown to required fluoride, it is perhaps not surprising that the level of fluoride in mother’s milk is remarkably low (0.004 ppm, NRC, 2006). This means that a bottle-fed baby consuming fluoridated water (0.6 – 1.2 ppm) can get up to 300 times more fluoride than a breast-fed baby. 

A large part of teeth cleaning is achieved by the mechanical action of the toothbrush, and not by the toothpaste. Salt and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) are among materials that can be substituted for commercial toothpaste. Toothpaste is not intended to be swallowed due to the fluoride content which makes it a little ironic that it is added to toothpaste to begin with. 

Everyone should make their own informed decisions about personal care products. Fluoride in toothpaste is open to debate but it cannot be argued that good dental health has everything to do with a healthy diet and proper hygiene (regular brushing and flossing habits).

Some resources if you are interested to know more about toxicity and findings about fluoride:

- www.fluoridealert.org

- http://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Fluoride-Hazardous-Drinking/dp/1603582878?ie=UTF8&tag=naturallyexpe-20&link_code=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969

- http://www.amazon.com/Fluoride-Deception-Christopher-Bryson/dp/1583227008?ie=UTF8&tag=naturallyexpe-20&link_code=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969