So many people wonder if they should be switching to a "natural" and fluoride-free toothpaste. I wrestled with this decision as well, here's what I came up with:
Conventional toothpaste= full of nasty things I hate like SLS and artificial whatnot. Plus I heard fluoride can be poisionous! What the heck?
"Natural" toothpaste= doesn't clean and protect nearly as well, leave my teeth with that "sweatery" feeling, and can still contain some questionable stuff like glycerine.
So here's the decision I came to, you may or may not share my opinion, but hopefully this will give you some food for thought, just brush your teeth after...........
Fluoride started being put into public water systems in the 50's to reduce the occurrence of cavities primarily in children. The overall rate of cavities did dramatically decrease during the next 20 years and fluoride was mainly given the credit- though other factors may have been at work as well: like better oral health education and more access to dental care. Fluoride is a naturally-occuring mineral, that can actually poison you in large quantities (like if an adult consumed a couple of tubes toothpaste), but there is a lot of clinical and anecdotal data to support the claim that it helps with overall tooth and enamel health. Also, "natural" toothpastes lacking fluoride don't really clean your teeth of tartar and plaque as well as their conventional counterparts. Even with using a Sonicare and flossing daily- the 6 months I used "natural" SLS and fluoride-free toothpaste I had the worst plaque and tartar buildup I have ever had in my life (so much so that my regular hygienist asked me what I had changed as she subjected me to a long and really uncomfortable cleaning). I live in Seattle, and I would say people here are pretty health and chemical conscious (urban hippies, anyone?). Plus the area where I live has a highly reputable college for alternative medicine, so the dentists here have seen lots of people that try to avoid fluoride and all the nasty chemical components in toothpastes at disastrous consequences to their teeth, (crowns, fillings, gum loss) something that she shared with me at length.
So here is the gist: enamel and gum tissue cannot be replaced, once it is gone it is lost forever. Also, the chemical compounds and resins used to make fillings is far worse for you than anything that is in a tube of toothpaste. Even though they eventually harden and cure, those toxic chemicals stay in your mouth forever, not mere minutes like toothpaste. Not to mention that the actual drilling and subsequent replacement of fillings can damage and crack your teeth and gum disease can cause all sorts of issues, even heart problems. Since fluoride and tartar control toothpastes are effective for preventative maintenance for tartar control, enamel loss, cavities, and gum tissue loss due to gingivitis (aka plaque and tartar buildup) it makes sense to use them if you are heading off far worse consequences. Think of it like medicine, you probably don't like taking all those chemicals but sometimes the potential alternative is far scarier than the treatment.
Like you, I try to avoid chemicals wherever possible and I HATE that the toothpastes that are most effective have things like fluoride, artificial sweeteners and SLS. BUT at the expense of something far worse, it just isn't worth it. Just to be sure I don't ingest any toothpaste, I rinse my mouth really well two or three times after I am done and always use a very small amount. Read my blog and others in my sidebar to research products that save on chemicals in other areas of your life: shampoo, deodorant, soap, makeup, cleaning products etc. and buy a really "good" dentist approved toothpaste (I was told that statin fluoride found in Crest toothpastes has been shown to be the most "useable" type for enamel health).
Cheers! I'm off to brush my teeth.
❤Eco Belle Elle