No, You Shouldn’t Seek Out Fluoride-Free Toothpaste

Some packages of toothpaste make a big deal out of being fluoride-free, but is that a selling point? No, experts say: while some people fear a link between the substance and cancer, that has never been proven. Even small children should use proportionately small amounts of fluoride toothpaste. [Consumer Reports]

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  1. SuperSpeedBump says:

    I think the article overlooks 1 aspect of fluoride that I’ve often wondered about. The people I know who use fluoride-free toothpaste only use it because their local water utility adds fluoride to their water supply and they’re concerned about fluoride poisoning.

    Unless I’m overlooking something, the article does not address this at all.

    • furiousd says:

      Fluoride absorbed into the bloodstream can be lethal in high levels (about 5-10 grams), and can be detected in sensitive people in the form of stomach discomfort at 15-20 times lower (say, .5 grams) if you’re sensitive. About 60 percent of U.S. cities fluoridate public drinking water to achieve levels of about 1 ppm (or 1mg/L of water) and the FDA permits OTC toothpaste for adults to contain 1000 ppm or 1100 ppm F (or 1-1.1 mg/mL of toothpaste). So, assuming you’re drinking fluoridated water at the recommended amount (2L per day) you’re getting 2mg/day from the water and should be getting nothing from the toothpaste but if we assume you swallow the toothpaste you use every day at 1mL you’d be getting at most 1.1mg a day ingested from toothpaste for a maximum total of 3.1mg per day. So, only about .62% of the dose to start feeling it if you’re sensitive and .062% of the minimum possible lethal dose.

      So, I’m not surprised that the article didn’t factor in fluoride poisoning. And at the dosage levels we’re exposed to normally, over a long period of time we benefit dentally from the introduction of fluoride and are well below the discomfort or toxic levels. Plus your body removes any excess via urine, so it shouldn’t build up. The only real danger is if a child overdoses by eating a tube of adult toothpaste, so certainly be sure to limit their access by getting child formulations for them to use.