What’s the Deal With Fluoride-Free Toothpaste? (Plus, 6 Natural Toothpaste Picks)
As you take a look at your vanity and consider switching more of your daily products to cleaner versions, your toothpaste is one item that deserves a closer look. There’s been some recent debate about the safety of fluoride, stirred by a recent study that suggests pregnant women who consume fluoride may give birth to children with lower IQs. While the study isn’t definitive and didn’t dive into the impact of fluoride toothpastes specifically, it’s raising a few questions about the presence of fluoride in our lives.
The CDC listed adding fluoride to water as one of the 10 greatest public health programs of the 20th century because of the positive impact it’s had on health in the U.S., and dentists are largely unanimous on its benefits. Fluoride has also long been named nature’s cavity fighter, since it’s a mineral derived naturally from lakes and the ocean.
What it comes down to is personal choice. Toothpaste that contains fluoride has the proven benefit of preventing tooth decay, but if you’re concerned about possible side effects, never fear. There are now many toothpaste options that skip fluoride all together, while still helping keep your mouth and gum clean and healthy.
If a Toothpaste Isn’t Fluoride-Free, Is It Still “Clean”?
Even toothpastes that contain fluoride can contain other, safer natural ingredients that protect your mouth and body. In general, they still avoid:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a common foaming ingredient used in shampoos, soaps and toothpastes. It’s a surfactant, which means it breaks any surface tension to help products interact better with your body. SLS is considered a controversial ingredient because it’s not only found in personal grooming products, but it’s also in industrial cleaning agents, making the safety of it as an ingredient questionable.
- Polyethylene plastic is another controversial ingredient that is somewhat specific to dental hygiene. A few years ago, polyethylene plastic was added to many products on the shelf, resulting in harm to the gums of users. These micro plastic beads can get caught in your gums posing a risk to gum and dental health. Plus, they’re not great for the environment—these literal microbeads stick around long after you wash them down the sink.
- Artificial colors
Natural Toothpaste Options—With Fluoride
Burt’s Bees provides a great affordable toothpaste that contains no SLS. To give you a fresh feel after you brush, the toothpaste is flavored with essential oils: peppermint, eucalyptus and spearmint.
Hello Oral Care offers an SLS-free toothpaste that’s also vegan. This brand is a super fun natural alternative; the peppermint that provides the flavor is actually grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and it not only quenches bad breath, but is also gentle on your mouth.
Co-founded by music superstar Lenny Kravitz, TWICE toothpaste offers a daily duo of morning and nighttime options for fresh breath. From teeth whitening and cavity prevention to enamel strength and sensitivity protection, this toothpaste duo delivers. Antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C & E and aloe vera help soothe gums, promote wellness and create a lasting, healthy environment in your mouth.
Fluoride-Free Natural Toothpaste Options
A note to consider when shopping for fluoride-free toothpaste—they won’t be approved by the American Dental Association, which relies on fluoride to prevent decay.
If you’ve ever looked into natural toothpastes, Davids is sure to be at the top of your search. It’s both a fluoride and SLS free option, and to top it all off, the product tube is recyclable. Your mouth is left feeling minty and fresh and the feeling of cleanliness is on par with a traditional toothpaste.
Wildist Gentle Natural Toothpaste is a unique blend of essential oils, and uses turmeric and ginger to kill bacteria and fight bad breath. If you aren’t looking for a traditional minty toothpaste, this is a great alternative.
An affordable clean toothpaste that leverages baking soda to clean your teeth; this is a solid option that is sold at Target. The all-in one toothpaste uses hydrated silica and calcium carbonate to apply gentle abrasion to clean your teeth.