In recent years, concern has risen over the use of fluoride in toothpaste. But why are many just now clamoring for its removal? Read on to see what role it plays in toothpaste, and why so many want it gone.
In the 1940s, scientists began including fluoride in the water supply in many towns in an attempt to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride works by preventing acid build-up on the teeth – something many considered beneficial, as that same acid can cause tooth decay and erosion. For this reason, fluoride was hailed as the ingredient for stronger, healthier teeth and many welcomed its inclusion in their water supply.
In recent years, however, some research has unveiled concerns that might outweigh fluoride’s benefits. Not only should you call poison control if you accidentally swallow more than what you use to brush; long-term use has also been linked to increased allergies, lowered IQs, reduced immune system function, the development of Alzheimer’s and even the growth of certain types of cancer. Ironically, high use of fluoride can also be blamed for increased dental fluorosis, which causes the development of yellow streaks and stains on teeth – the opposite result of what we want when we brush our teeth each day.
However, if high use of fluoride has been linked to all of these concerns, then why is it still being used in most toothpastes? Most dentists argue that the use of fluoride is perfectly safe in the small amounts required for brushing. According to Dr. Edmond Hewletter, associate professor of dentistry at the ULA School of Dentistry, in this LA Times article, “fluoride protects teeth by filling in tiny gaps in the enamel surrounding each tooth. The extra fortification protects teeth from acid, the root cause of tooth decay and cavities.” He goes on to argue that fluoride has “saved millions and millions of teeth from decay.”
The reality is that without knowing exactly how much fluoride one is ingesting, it’s nearly impossible to determine what effects its use has on your body. The good news, however, is that these concerns have led to the production of many other fluoride-free options in the marketplace – including Real Purity’s own Wild Mint Toothpaste, which uses natural ingredients scented with a minty freshness to brush away plaque & stains.
Whether you decide to make the switch to fluoride-free toothpaste or not, hopefully this article has left you with the information you need to make the best decision for your family. Happy brushing!
You can read more about high-fluoride use and its effects here.